While food trucks have stormed the scene in a few dozen cities across the U.S., the Sacramento Bee pointed out recently that “mobile food carts” won’t be popping up in the state’s capital city anytime soon. According to the article, a 2008 ordinance established by the city prohibits food carts from staying in one location for more than 30 minutes, preventing cart “cities”, like Portland’s Cartopia, from establishing themselves.
Back in 2008, a controversy started simmering because of taco trucks in south Sacramento. Complaints came primarily from residents about music being played too loudly from the trucks, trash and loitering.
“Some regulations were not being followed, and that prompted the whole thing to happen,” said Dafna Gauthier, business permit manager for the city of Sacramento. “The aesthetics (of the trucks) weren’t that great, and people started complaining about the way they were set up.”
Not only does the Sac Bee extol on the beauty of quality mobile food vendors, it notes that all hope may not be lost. With the national popularity, including a current competition show on the Food Network called “The Great Food Cart Race”, city members hope that the ordinance will be eliminated in the coming years.
“It’s a way of life,” said [Sacramento City Councilman Ray] Tretheway, of the taco trucks. “It’s a distinct choice in lunches and dinners and late-night eating. I think there’s an important place for them.”
Apparently food carts haven’t been that welcome across the board, with the article noting that a Los Angeles court recently “heard testimony from a member of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce that food trucks were “undercutting” restaurants.” Very interesting, indeed.
Chefs, your thoughts?
Some cities are proud of their cart culture, however. To support the fast-growing trend, Microsoft recently released a food cart finder through their search partner, Bing. The Bing Food Cart Finder now allows map searchers to track their favorite food cart stops. Similar to others, like the cart map from Food Carts Portland, the search tool overlay now offers cart suggestions for cities across the country, with connections to cart Twitter feeds and Foursquare check-ins.
Finally, I’m off to Los Angeles for a few days to cover the Taste of Beverly Hills and the Los Angeles Times Celebration of Food and Wine. Stay tuned to Daily Blender next week for exclusive event posts, plus upcoming interviews with chefs Kelly Liken and Tim Love.