By Che Ruddell-Tabisola | DCFoodTrucks.org
WASHINGTON, DC – More than 50 Chefs, brick-and-mortar businesses and community leaders – including Chef Jamie Leeds, restaurateur Joe Englert and Chef and television host Andrew Zimmern – today stood up for DC food trucks and called on the DC Council to reject Mayor Vincent Gray’s proposed regulations.
“We join the Food Truck Association of Metropolitan Washington in supporting smart management of individual locations where food trucks are in greatest demand,” says a letter signed by the group. “There are better, more flexible ways to manage these areas. But this proposal seeks to impose a one-size-fits-all approach that so severely restricts where food trucks can operate it threatens the existence of the food truck industry as we know it. “
The full text of the letter and complete list of signers is at www.DMVFTA.org/StandWithUs.
“The contributions the food trucks make to the DC community are unique. The diversity of cuisine is important to offer to working people on the go,” said Leeds, owner of Hank’s Oyster Bar. “I’ve been a chef for 28 years, and I think it’s a great opportunity for people to get into the food businesses.”
“A vibrant culinary scene on Washington’s sidewalks and food trucks only begets a vibrant restaurant scene,” said Englert, who owns The Argonaut, Granville Moore’s, Sticky Rice, and several other DC restaurants and bars. “I think it’s downright un-American to stymie hard-working professionals willing to work double and triple-time to gain their first foothold in the food industry. How can you begrudge blood, sweat and tears of a committed ‘little guy’?”
“The struggle for small business to be supported on the local level is crucial to the hegemony of our cities and towns and crucial to creating sustainable economic systems within the food sector,” said Zimmern, host of the “Bizarre Foods” television show and owner of the AZ Canteen food truck in Minneapolis. “Arguing over parking slots and distance limits results from haphazard ordinance planning and fear-based thinking on all sides of the argument.”
The Council Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs will hold a hearing about the propose food truck regulations on Friday. The proposal places severe restrictions on where food trucks can serve customers, including:
- Forcing food trucks into a limited number of lottery-assigned locations at popular food truck destinations;
- Banning food trucks within 500 feet of lottery-assigned spaces;
- Banning food trucks where there is less than 10 feet of unobstructed sidewalk.
“Mayor Gray’s proposed food truck regulations have little, if any, community support,” said Doug Povich, chairman of the Food Truck Association of Metropolitan Washington and Co-owner of Red Hook Lobster Pound-DC. “We hope the DC Council sees that and sends the proposal back for revisions.”
About the Food Truck Association of Metropolitan Washington
The Food Truck Association is a group of more than 60 local food truck owner-operators. We seek to sustain the wellbeing of our industry, foster a sense of community and work in partnership to improve food truck regulations. We are engaged community members who deeply care about our city and believe in working together to make a positive impact. The Food Truck Association’s signature event is the Curbside Cookoff food truck festival series. For more information visit www.DCFoodTrucks.org.