Dallas City Hall Likes Food Trucks So Much It Wants to Make It Even Easier to Get in the Race

Categories: City Hall, Dish
DallasFoodPermit1.jpg
There are a couple of council committee meetings worth keeping an eye on today; we're spending lunch with Transportation and Environment at 1, matter of fact, where the North Texas Clean Air Steering Committee's Oil and Gas Task Force, LBJ Express and Complete Streets are on the action-packed agenda. Ah, and speaking of lunch: At 9 this morning, the council's Quality of Life Committee will discuss making it even easier to operate a food truck -- this, but three months after the council initially paved the way for those mobile eateries now parked all over town. Ish.

Says the briefing, right now 36 trucks have permission to park 'n' serve in the city (except in the Central Business District, where food trucks remain off limits, because this is Dallas), and demand is growing. Says the briefing, "Restaurant and Bar Inspections has seen a significant increase in the number of gourmet food trucks seeking permits in the last four months alone." Problem is, there are still numerous roadblocks in place: The City Code only allows vendors to sell out of commercially made trucks -- which, as we've noted over on City of Ate, has been a barrier for some local start-ups, such as Gennarino's, allowed to operate anywhere but Dallas. And: They can't dish out "potentially hazardous foods," meaning fresh chicken or seafood. (You wanna serve either, it's got to be frozen, then fried -- dee-licious!).

Problem is, for starters: There are only a handful of food-truck makers out there, which is why some locals want to repurpose old buses, Airstreams and, oh, a Chevy step van. City's now thinking: That's fine. Sure. Whatever. Besides: "Any retrofitted vehicle would be required to submit plans to department staff prior to construction and have an inspection prior to permitting," which, no doubt, comes with a small fee. As for making raw poultry or seafood a no-no, the city's willing to grant a variance ... which would involve "additional fees to recover the City's permitting cost," but of course. See -- food trucks are profitable!
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26 comments
movingtruckrental
movingtruckrental

in a delight manner .. company can have you and make it all for you.

Sturms_Bloody_Rectum
Sturms_Bloody_Rectum

Purchase a trailer smoker. Texas+BBQ=smoker, cheaper than a truck. Just say'n.

Paul
Paul

Hmmm ... let's see, I cannot give away food to shelter challenged humans downtown.  But I can pretty much park a truck on the public right of way with out charge and sell food for my own economic gain.

personally, I think these mobile restaurants without sit down service should be allowed.

However, I think that a fee needs to be paid to the city for the use of the public right of way just as utilities such as Atmos, AT&T, Oncor and Time-Warner have to pay.

John_McKee
John_McKee

What we need to do is build an access ramp for them to the tunnels, they can sell food and the fear of being mowed down by a food truck will drive a few office workers back up to the street level.

FarNorthFoodie
FarNorthFoodie

It depends on what the food truck serves. The two I have tried out serve food I can't get without driving forever to find. Naami Truck has great bahn mi, and Saahm BBQ has korean bbq fusion tacos. I've hit them up on Belt Line and Montfort. I don't mind paying extra if it saves me from driving 10-20 miles out of my way at lunch. Plus some days, typical fast food gets old.

Rangers100
Rangers100

God forbid food trucks threaten those glorious, immaculate tunnels.

Byter
Byter

I've eaten off two of these trucks. They were overpriced with mediocre food. The novelty will quickly wear off.

Anonymous
Anonymous

People who like to talk about Dallas as if it's in the 19th century where food trucks are concerned need to remember that not a single food truck in Manhattan is operating legally. Please remember that before making comments like "this is Dallas" as if you have to invent faults that we don't even have relative to other "world class" cities.

Lee
Lee

Why not allow food trucks to park in parking spaces on the street in selected blocks, such as by the Main Street Gardens, Belo Park, Ferris Plaza, Pegasus Plaza?

Jltacket000
Jltacket000

There is no "novelty" about it.  As usual Dallas is years behind any city with a vision in this and numerous other areas (sorry, i digress).  Food trucks provide an opportunity for the "little guy" who may have tremendous talent to provide fantastic food without being a Brinkers or being in debt for the rest of one's life.  They may or may not provide what the public wants but If they are overpriced and/or have mediocre food, then the free market will put them out of business; or force them to be better and provide what the consumer wants.  Is Dakotas (are they even still there) really worried about a taco stand nearby?  If so perhaps they should look at themselves and what they are not providing that the public wants.

Rangers100
Rangers100

Just another reason to not be worried about letting them operate where they choose.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Because, heaven forbid, it would actually give people an option outside of going underground downtown, gotta prop up business somehow..

Anonymous
Anonymous

Instead of linking to the location of the food trucks in Manhattan (whose existence I acknowledged) please link to the legal framework under which they exist.

Anonymous
Anonymous

No, but you do have to protect your rent-paying tenants or they will go out of business. Competition is good for consumers but the city does actually have a vested interest in keeping its storefronts full. In NYC, where some food trucks have become disruptive to brick and mortar restaurants, you have seen the guys who are there legally call the police and successfully get the food trucks ticketed and told to go elsewhere, lest their own business suffer. That's just reality.

Anonymous
Anonymous

my point is that there is no legal framework under which these trucks operate. they are at the mercy of the police, who can force them to cease operating at any time. people are missing my point here; I simply can't stand when people complain about Dallas and its "backwards" rules relative to other places when they have no idea what kind of rules are actually in place elsewhere. there are plenty of complaints that can legitimately be made about Dallas being behind other more progressive, livable cities, without inventing causes of grief. yes, food trucks exist everywhere in NYC and LA. but no, those places do not have specific regulations that invite them in and give them a framework for operating. so don't pretend that by not having that legal framework in Dallas we are somehow "behind the times". we are not, we simply have a smaller informal economy (in this specific industry) than those cities.

Rangers100
Rangers100

There are food stands on almost every corner in midtown Manhattan.  The food is prepared in trucks that are towed in and out of the city every day.  

Anonymous
Anonymous

what are you talking about? I'm not splitting hairs at all - they all operate in a legal gray area in New York. they exist in a fragile equilibrium with the guys who pay rent.

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

Splitting hairs over the difference between food carts and food trucks in your argument is dumb. Don't take it for granted that everyone in Dallas is a retrograde dolt and has never been there

Jltackett000
Jltackett000

what happened to allowing the free market to determine who lives and dies?  If the trucks are good enough then the rent paying clients will have to be/get better or die just as the trucks that suck  will have to do.  Introduction of competitionn usually means the people win in the long run.

Coleman
Coleman

no one's gonna go out of business because a food truck sets up shop nearby.

Rangers100
Rangers100

Storefronts?  I think you mean store bunkers.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I am not trying to say food trucks shouldn't exist - I think it's a great way of spreading commerce to areas that currently have very little of it now, and at low cost. But I think that people need to have reasonable expectations. Also, once the city gets in the business of making rules for food trucks, they will effectively be choosing the winners and losers. 

Anonymous
Anonymous

Why are they choosing winners and losers? They're just setting the rules. It's easy to "win" when you are competing against a business with higher fixed overhead and regulation. Should we just unregulate the food service industry? That's a serious question if you really think the "freedom loving consumer" should have his choice of whatever he wants.

Lee
Lee

@ anonymous---you are right that there would be push back from restaurants. That is why I suggested places in downtown that do not have a number of restaurants, such as Main Street Garden. Pegasus Plaza might be morre problematic.

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

@anon so what you are saying is that you support activist, protectionist city government choosing winners and losers, and ignoring the freedom loving consumers. And this is not about rent paying tenants one bit. It's about campaign donation making building owners

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