Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Food trucks in the city

Food trucks in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood of Atlanta. Picture by Erik S. Lesser, for NYTimes

A couple of weeks ago, we were hired to prepare plans for a food truck. Basically, the plans are the same as any restaurant, showing all the equipment with the specifications, of course everything NSF approved and UL listed for those related to fire. Besides, there should be a plot plan or site plan with the location of the truck, the City must approve its parking. In our case, the truck is proposed to be inside a dancing club´s parking lot.
I understand for those who have a built restaurant is not a nice competition, but, if you eat from these trucks, you are aware of the difference. This is an excerpt from the New York Times, at least in New York, there will be hard regulations for truck parkings, and it seems good to me.

Now comes the modern food truck, where innovative cooks on a budget drive their kitchens around searching for what appears to be an endless supply of diners with Twitter accounts willing to line up for Korean tacos and salted caramel cupcakes.
What could be wrong with that? For some, plenty. From Los Angeles to New York, and Portland, Ore., to Atlanta, cities are wrestling with a trend now writ large on their streets, trying to balance the cultural good that comes with a restaurant on wheels against all the bad.
Yes, the trucks offer entrepreneurs a way to get started in the restaurant business. Yes, they add jobs and money to a city. The food is often innovative, relatively inexpensive and convenient. For those willing to stand in line and eat from a paper plate, there is usually a warm personal exchange when the meal is passed from chef to diner.
But many restaurateurs are sick of seeing competition literally drive up outside their windows.
“It’s ignorant of people in the community to think that buying from food trucks instead of from local restaurants doesn’t hurt the community,” said Melissa Murphy , who runs two Sweet Melissa Patisseries in Brooklyn. “There’s just not enough to go around right now.”Trucks present other problems. Streets clog. Parking disappears. The crowds and the diesel fumes that swirl around all those idling buses of gastronomy annoy the neighbors.
But civic leaders can’t ignore the trend, which is not going the way of raspberry vinegar. Like drive-throughs, which were the subject of many a city council meeting when national fast-food chains embraced them in the 1970s, food trucks are changing the way America eats.
(....) In New York, truck owners now face a ticket or a tow if they sell food from metered spaces. The Seattle City Council on Monday is expected to decide whether to unleash food trucks onto its streets with tight regulations on where they can park.
In Chicago, which appears on the verge of allowing something more than prepackaged food to be sold from mobile units, competition is the biggest issue. Although Mayor Rahm Emanuel supported the trucks during his recent campaign, the alderman who heads the committee that will consider the proposal said it won’t pass without restrictions that would keep food trucks at least 200 feet away from restaurants.
In Raleigh, N.C., the planning commission approved new rules last week that would create similar restrictions, as well as prevent trucks from using amplified sound or dominating certain parking spaces.
Food vendors, surprised to find themselves civic parasites, are fighting back, pointing out that food trucks are a valuable urban amenity.
KEEP ON READING: (article by Kim Severson)

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