Food Trucks Get Booted

What self-respecting (and/or self-hating yet hungry) hipster wouldn't want a truck full of fresh made "chicken and biscuits, grass-fed beef burgers and apple cardamom pie" parked on a nearby corner? After Day 47 of (delicious) Potbelly Sandwiches, such offerings sound downright miraculous to the staff of Reason D.C. But the new wave of food trucks surging into the Virginia/D.C. area aren't having an easy time of it.

[Derek] Luhowiak, 33, submitted his mobile kitchen [in his food truck Local SixFortySeven, which serves the menu listed above] for a health inspection and bought a business license, which he believed covered him anywhere in Virginia within a day's drive of his home base. But bureaucratic woes have plagued Local SixFortySeven at almost every stop.

At a weekly farmers market at George Mason University, he was kicked out after food service giant Sodexo, which has a catering contract with the school, complained. At Barrel Oak Winery in Delaplane, where Local SixFortySeven earns almost 50 percent of its revenue, concern that the truck violated rural agricultural zoning rules threatened to halt its operation there in October. In Winchester, where Luhowiak had successfully set up at the weekly farmers market since June, a local official suddenly informed him on Nov. 17 that he was required to obtain another license from the city and pay tax on his income.

That was Luhowiak's last week at the Winchester market.

And this isn't—to paraphrase Reason's own Radley Balko—an isolated incident. The wonder twins of (relatively) big business and big government combine everywhere ("Form of...red tape!). The food cart mecca of the U.S., California, is also the most tangled in tape. In Salinas, local restaurateurs conspire to drive taco trucks out. Trucks in Los Angeles grappled with a 30 minute parking limit. San Juan County, Washington, food carts must get permission from their local bricks-and-mortar competitors to open for business. And today's Washington Post article chronicling the vendors' troubles in the D.C. area is fantastic and depressing, read the whole thing here.

And now: Bacon dogs!

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  • Mike Laursen||

    Dammit! Not only do you have all the Reason get-togethers in D.C., now you have chicken and biscuit trucks!

  • CTHORM@IBIS||

    Tell government to stay the hell away from my bacon dogs and Korean tacos. Thanks.

  • ||

    wait a minute....korean tacos?

  • ||

    Awesome Drew! I love food trucks and carts. I use the site http://mobilecravings.com track of them all.

  • ||

    Mobilecravings.com likely hasn't considered how easy they're making it for the anti-food-truck crowd to track down and destroy all the food trucks.

  • recoveredobj||

    just fyi: you use the 'hipster' a lot on this blog. i do not think it means what you think it does. you are correct in that hipsters suck. very much so, yes. but they are not, generally, actually particularly liberal or active. you also, for instance, have a post up about jeans made in korea. as though hipster/liberal is the same thing. again. no. it's true that many hipsters claim the liberal/progressive movement, join it even. but they are not. i know sooooo many of them. they are... posers. that's all. almost always from privileged backgrounds desperately wanting to be accepted by non-privileged people while still basically resenting them and thinking minorities/women/gays are icky, annoying, etc. for instance: hipsters backed obama and blathered on in the most sexist language i've heard in years about hrc.

    further: most hipsters i've know in every place i've lived, from CA, to CO, to AL, GA, IL and KY, talk in quasi-libertarian speak that amps up to almost pure libertarian speak when challenged.

    no worries, i am not claiming hipsters are closeted libertarians.

    they are quasi-nihilists, actually.
    best.

  • cyberaly||

    um, no, hipsters are EXACTLY the kind of liberal douchebags we think they are. ok, the label probably expands beyond just liberals because the poseurs have enticed even more normal-types to want to emulate them and thus be poseur-poseurs. in the bay area its a freaking epidemic.

  • Boka||

    We started serving Asian-Mexican-American fusion "Takos" down here in Richmond recently and have been really well received. We have not run into much red tape. The important thing to remember is that you must maintain a relationship with the public and regulatory body. People will always contend your business because of the competitive nature of restaurants, and other interests. Be respectful. You have to find out how to make it work in your market, and pissing people off isn't going to get you there any faster. I have plans to expand into the NOVA/DC market. Just be mindful of the haters, and maube even win them over. If your food is good, your attitude is good, and your prices are good, the people will come around.

  • Used trucks for sale||

    Coool truck, I love food trucks and carts, after all we humans live to eat :)

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