City Hall

Better Block's Moving From Oak Cliff to the Arts District. And It's Bringing Food. And a Piano.

Jason Roberts has uprooted his Better Block-ing from the narrow, pedestrian-unfriendly streets of Oak Cliff and is planting that sumbitch in downtown Dallas -- the Arts District, specifically -- this weekend and this weekend only. (For now.) He directs our attention to this morning's post over on the new Better Block website, in which he explains not only what'll happen Sunday between noon and 5 p.m. -- when five food trucks, including at least one imported from Austin, take over Flora Street between N. Olive and N. Pearl Streets -- but also what it, like, means.

No doubt you're familiar by now with the difficulties mobile eateries have encountered whilst trying to set up temporary shop, and while City Hall says it's trying to change things, some folks -- like, oh, Jason Roberts -- ain't got time to wait for bureaucracy to come to a boil. The sidewalk eateries, which'll have their very own piano accompaniment, are part of the Art in October adios afternoon. And, writes Roberts this morning, this ain't just about eatin'. It's about making a political statement. A delicious political statement. But a statement nevertheless:

The maze of ordinance and restrictions on permitting street food has made it such an unwieldy process that potential entrepreneurs have thrown their hands in the air and decided to simply give up the effort. Fortunately, two mobile trucks have begun operation, but others are still awaiting a grand stroke from City Hall that simply opens the doors for this profitable new business model. ...

Alongside these businesses, we've taken the pop-up business model from our Better Blocks and applied it to the street by developing new small pop-up food businesses between the carts like Crepe Stands, Fresh Juice stands, and a Greek Food stand. These businesses were developed by working with the community and enabling young entrepreneurs to get a start and test the waters. In our current economic environment, the development and fostering of this "pop-up" business strategy gives new business owners a chance to see what works, what doesn't work, and apply solutions with low investment risk.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky