SoCal Tacos and Gennarino's: Ready to Truck into Dallas, If Only Dallas Would Let Them

Categories: Food News

DallasFoodPermit.jpg
3 Men and a Taco's highly prized Dallas Food Permit.
Yesterday I spoke with two DFW-area food trucks about their plans to hit the streets in Big D. Gennarino's is a Neapolitan-style friggitoria owned by three brothers from Naples, Italy. And SoCal Tacos serves up classic southern Cali tacos, burritos and salsa. Both these truck owners are enthusiastic foodies, anxiously awaiting a chance to bring their tasty goods to the city of Dallas

Don't cancel any lunch plans yet, though. As things stand, neither of these trucks expect to pass the City of Dallas food truck permit process.

Scott Wooley of SoCal Tacos put it best: "I get the logic of what they're doing. They're trying to keep people from selling food out of the back of a 1978 Econoline van."

Wooley went on to explain that the main issue is that Dallas requires all vehicles be "originally manufactured" as a food truck. In other words, you can't convert an old UPS truck or trailer (aka Trailercakes) to a mobile food unit.

Industrious food truck owners, however, have professional kitchens installed in box-style trucks. So, while not a certified originally manufactured food truck, these refurbished units, which cost upwards of $75,000, have all the necessary details that allow them to make and serve food safely: dual wash bins, 10-gallon hot water tanks, cold and hot food storage capabilities, and the rest.

"It's all professionally done," explained Wooley. "A professional kitchen and even the electrical wiring is done by a professional electrician. But, Dallas has a blanket policy that applies to everyone."

I recently exchanged emails with Dallas City Council Member Ann Margolin about the permitting issue. I specifically asked her if there was a possibility to review these prohibitive rules.

"Is there an ear for change?" asked Margolin. "I am definitely open to making it easier. I am open to tweaking or rewriting if our code discourages new trucks. I really think the council wants to see more."

Wooley just received his Fort Worth permit on Tuesday. On Thursday, with a bit of reluctance, he's driving his SoCal Tacos truck to Dallas for inspection.

"But, they're not going to allow my truck to pass because I have an outside generator," he said.

The Gennarino's guys are getting their truck inspected this week in Irving, not even bothering with Dallas because they know they can't overcome the original manufacturing rule.

The sum affect is that there are more food trucks in neighboring cities than in Dallas.

"Eventually they are going to have to look at each individual truck," Wooley said.

Seems the issue isn't to lower the bar, but tweak the code verbiage. If a truck has a professionally installed kitchen that offers all the same food-safety standards as other manufactured food trucks, why not at least have a look?

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8 comments
MishiRN
MishiRN

If Dallas wants to be recognized amongst the top Foodie cities, or top overall cities for that matter, they need to listen to what the city wants. I'm from NY/NJ area, and having food trucks/trailers/carts/stands on just about every corner is what makes the area so inviting and rich in culture. We need to encourage and support local businesses, not make them go through a 3ring circus-style obstacle course just to be able to serve their community honest, affordable, delicious food from their hearts. It's not like they're trying to run a pop-up surgery center! Sometimes laws and regulations are in place from years ago, and they just do not pertain to the current times. Just like spring cleaning, the city needs to take a long look into their closets, and clear out the old to make room for the new...

TC
TC

"The sum affect is that there are more food trucks in neighboring cities than in Dallas."

Aside from the affect/effect issue, prove this statement.  There are more food trucks in where...Irving?  Addison?  Garland?  Plano?  Carrollton?  Duncanville?  Cockrell Hill?

Fishhead.
Fishhead.

I'm there with you guys. I want to open a truck here in vancouver Wa, and have the same problems. I could do the converted econoline and go to Portland OR and fit right with the rest of the misfits, BUT IT'S PORTLAND. We are hopeful that changes will come here but it has to change on a state level first then local. Good luck.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

..and again, Dallas proves itsself to be unfriendly to small business. Its a miracle many of these food trucks have gotten off the ground. Id rather receive my cupcakes from a converted airstream or tacos from an old UPS truck..Im thinking theres something amiss here, you need to dig deeper Lauren ;)

LaurenDrewesDaniels
LaurenDrewesDaniels

On a regular basis, there are, by quick count, 7 trucks that roam the streets in FW or Irving (Las Colinas) that can't come into Dallas. BigDFoodTrucks (see link below) wrote a great story on it a few weeks ago and also has a listing of food trucks in every city. 

http://bigdfoodtrucks.blogspot...

LaurenDrewesDaniels
LaurenDrewesDaniels

Hi Chris. Iappreciate your encouragement. I will follow-up with Wooley to see how it goeson Thursday. And, maybe Margolin will chime in. 

 

But, Idon't like to dabble in reading between the lines. So, tell me, what do youthink is amiss? I'd like to hear it. 

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Its just Dallas as a whole, if it doesn't earn someone in the city cash, it wont happen..I dont know of anything in particular, the city just needs a sea change of common sense to make the city a better place..

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