Food Freedom

St. Louis Food Trucks Are Pretty Much Banned from Parking Anywhere Ever


Yesterday St. Louis food truck owners received a helpful map in their inboxes. It shows all the places they can't do business. Here it is:

no parking

The text is a little hard to read (go here for a larger PDF version), so let me help you out. Vendors can't park in the red parts. Or the blue parts. Or the yellow parts. Also, stay away from hydrants and bus stops. 

Vendors have been ordered to keep a copy of the map in their trucks. Apparently if a cop challenges them, it's their responsibility to show that their spot is legit. And if it's not:

"Please be advised, any violations of the rules and regulations shall result in a 30-day suspension or revocation of your Downtown Vending Permit."

This isn't the first time St. Louis has risen to our notice for their poor treatment of mobile vendors.

NEXT: Judge Rules That Advocating Jury Nullification Is Not a Crime

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I just had a delicious burger from Dorothy Moon’s truck (similar to Five Guys, but tastes a bit better). Nummy! Suck it, St. Louis!

  2. Why not just invoke the Commerce Clause and mandate everyone buy their lunch from food trucks?

    1. cause i dont want broccoli that’s why

      1. Want has nothing to do with it.

        1. With the market out of the way, the government will finally be able to get to work on glazed doughnuts that clear your arteries and give you a six pack flat belly, right Orin?

  3. The city is requiring that food-truck operators keep a copy of the map in their vehicles “to show to any police officers or license-collector representatives that you are in an allowed spot.”

    Guilty until proved innocent.

    1. Well you can’t expect the cops to be troubled with carrying around a map.

    2. That which is not permitted is forbidden, dude.

      1. That which is not forbidden leads to charges of resisting arrest.

      2. The Federal Gov’t really needs to hire on a Permit Czar, or maybe a Permitter General, to let Americans know exactly what they are not allowed to do without government permission.

        1. You are no longer permitted to make suggestions. Also, your words are over 50 characters.


            1. I. AM. REGISTRATION!!!!!!

        2. I thought the default was that you can’t do anything without a license.

          1. Do you have a permit for that comment?

            1. Do you have a permit for that license?


      3. That which is not permitted mandatory is forbidden, dude.


  4. they just need to keep driving…. very, very slowly.

    1. Yeah, I had the same thought. It works for ice cream trucks.

      1. look, I don’t care where they park/roll, but NO ANNOYING FUCKING MUSIC.

  5. They spelled “restraurant” wrong in the legend.
    Government: idiots telling the experts how to do their job.

  6. Just eyeballing it, I’d guess all the forbidden zones are the ones with the most pedestrians.

  7. I’m thinking if I own a surface lot, I might be able to make mo’ money by renting part of it to food trucks.

    Does the ban apply only to off-street parking, or is this just a flatout ban on the use of private property for food trucking?

    1. It looks like the blue circles are just a flat-out a ban on competing with brick ‘n’ mortar. Not even a pretense of pedestrian safety or traffic flow.

      1. Totally. I’d think this could easily be challenged in court.

        1. They’d lose that challenge.

          1. Can’t fight City Hall.

      2. Legend
        Red Dot == Restaurant Entrances
        Blue Circle == Restraurant 200′ Radius
        Green Dot == Street Vendors
        Yellow Circle Vendor 200′ Radius

        Absolute bullshit.

      3. Yep. Just a flat-out non-compete area for food trucks.

        Jesus, this city is fucked up.

      4. Not even a pretense….

        Yep. For years the pretenses for government action had gotten thinner and thinner, now they are figuring out they don’t even need a pretense. “Shut up”, he explained.

        The question is – how long can they get away with operating on pure naked power with no authority whatsoever? My heart says “not long”, but my head says “until the heat death of the universe”.

        1. The American Experiment in liberty is over.

          Humanity is returning to its default state: slavery to power.

    2. I was in Austin TX a few years back for a conference. Across the street was a basically empty, gravel lot with picnic tables and a parked food trailer. They sold only burgers, fries and canned soda out the window of the trailer. Good price, great food, very busy.

      1. And now we have several pieces of land with multiple food trucks that are very busy. Progress!

  8. I’m officially predicting that we’ll be seeing “drive-by food trucks” where an employee with a headset and clipboard stands on the street and takes orders while the truck keeps circling the block.

    1. crop circles then?

  9. Let me guess. Downtown St. Louis also has really crappy restaurants?

    1. A quick GoogleMap says, “The suck is strong with DTSL.”

    2. There are some really good ones (Tony’s, Carmine’s come to mind immediately), but it’s ridiculous to think that food trucks are going to be vying for the same clients as go to those high-end eateries. And even if they are, so what?

      What these blue bubbles show is a food truck non-compete area for each bricks-and-mortar place. If the City thinks competition is such a bad thing, they need to revoke the business licenses of overlapping restaurants, too.

      1. Dammit, you beat me to it.

        1. Correction: You beat me by a minute below.

    3. There’s like one street with a Hooters and other chain joints on it, everything else is basically a food desert.

      1. food desert?


  10. As a born-n-bred St. Louisan, I can tell you that City Hall is far, far more idiotic than even this map suggests. For years, the Top Men in the region have puzzled and stiven toward the goal of revitalizing the Downtown area (as shown by the map), while simultaneously doing everything they possibly can to choke off every initiative that doesn’t conform to their ever-failing Plan.

    1. They did the same thing in Dallas.

      First, they spent a jillion dollars trying to revitalize a new nightclub district (Deep Ellum).

      Then, they damn near killed it by going all jackboot on parking enforcement there.

      1. (Deep Ellum)

        Ahhhhh, memories. Good, good memories…

        1. Think I’ll head there tonight, actually.

        2. Angry Dog had some really, really good wings back in the day. And/or maybe I was just drunk but, man, they were good.

      2. I’ve come to the realization that people with Big Ideas – with one exception – shouldn’t be in positions of political power. That lone exception is for those whose Big Idea is that they really don’t know, beyond physical safety and basic public health measures long settled, they really don’t know what is best for everyone.

      3. Sounds like DC. The difference is that in DC, you can at least enjoy the irony that the city where everything revolves around government control-freakery is drowning under government control-freakersy.

      4. Ditto for Louisville.

  11. Funny how stationary restaurants are allowed to be within 200′ feet with each other, some animals are more equal than others etc. I bet that if a brick and mortar eating joint open up within 200′ feet of a food truck the truck would have to move.

  12. So where is our resident bootlicker Tulpa to defend this idiocy?

    1. Who gives a shit? Maybe he’s dead.

      1. He’s been posting as Evil Otto lately, so fat chance of that.

        1. Oh, I know. Just do what I do, and filter him. You can always temporarily unfilter him when the context indicates his idiocy is getting particularly lulzy.

          1. Were you born on a food truck, Warty?

            1. It was the only place not covered by a Warty Exclusion Zone.

              1. Warty Exclusion Zone

                Just an urban myth.

                All is Warty. Warty is all.

              2. Was the permit in order?

            2. ask rather
              said warty bliggens
              what st louis has done to deserve me

  13. I’d park near the city parks and put a big version of the map on the side of my truck along with information for any customers or passersby as to the restrictions enforced by the city. 95% of people will think it’s ridiculous. Well, maybe I’, being generous. A majority will, then.

    1. Of course they’ll say it’s ridiculous. And nothing will change. Do you expect them to hold lawmakers accountable 6 months after they couldn’t get their Korean Tacos or whatever? Unless you had a voting booth attached to your truck and a mass of pissed-off people the likelihood of the petty tyrants getting away with this stuff if practically guaranteed.

  14. They did the same thing here. There’s only 8 places a food cart can be and only four of those allow food trucks. And we got a whole new bullshit city agency to boot.

    1. There is nothing that cannot be used to create more unionized government jobs. That’s one of Newton’s laws, right?

      1. The First Law. Government is the best example of inertia ever.

        1. The bureaucratic death of the universe is one of the most profoundly depressing predictions of modern physics.

    2. Really, Lexington has gone after food trucks?

      Louisville has been semi-receptive. For now.

      1. Not gone after, we really couldn’t have them under the “task force” investigated the issue for a year. There were a few, like the glorious rebels of Habanero Tako, who operate solely on private property, and a hot dog cart that got a special wavier, but they were illegal until late last fall.

      2. I take that back…it look like the new regs passed back in October that were supposed to make things easier for food trucks actually made them harder.

        Typically political BS. We make this one thing easier and 16 other things harder.

        1. Reading more, it looks like most of the issues got worked out.

          The new Louisville mayor, despite being fairly leftist, seems to want a postive business culture. I think maybe it has to do with food trucks being big in Portand and Austin.

          1. So, economic policy determined by hipster envy?

            Honestly, I can’t see that ending well.

  15. I love the smell of regulatory capture in the morning. It smells like…idiocy.

  16. St. Louis (City) isn’t content with lousy schools and high crime. It’s always looking for new ways to drive businesses and residents from the city.

    On the plus side, the city limits are fixed (the City of St. Louis is for most purposes also a county) so the turf it can screw up is limited. As the metro area expands further into the counties of eastern Missouri and southern Illinois, it becomes less of a problem, relatively speaking.

    At least the penguins at the Zoo know who their enemies are. Did you hear one bit Gingrich? Fortunately, the bird is OK.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.