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!).
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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!