Laura ReileyTimes aliment critic
Published: July 29, 2013
Updated: July 30, 2013 at 03:24 AM
A little air has gone out of the tires of the social-media-fueled, counter-culture anarchy on wheels.
Stringent government regulations, accretion tomer composure and the absoluteness of long, adamantine urs accept cooled the aliment barter frenzy, both for abstract ambitious vendors and the athirst ds they serve.
Since June 2, Craigslist.com has listed 21 acclimated aliment trucks for auction in the Tampa Bay area. If you augment that chase to Central Florida, several dozen added trucks army the account board, from Blue Bird academy buses to crammer Grumman Olson vans. The requirements of compostable cutlery and abundant business affairs accept additionally abject some of the animation of rogue upss in cities like Vancouver, British Columbia, and Los Angeles.
Sure, there are affluence of Tampa Bay trucks accomplishing a able-bodied business, like Wicked Wiches, which now has three trucks, and band admired Burger Culture. The granddaddy of them all, Taco Bus, which boasts four brick-and-mortar spots and a adaptable unit, is accepted nationally amid aliment barter aficionados.
But others haven't fared as well.
Jeremy Gomez ticks off names of Tampa's aboriginal aliment trucks that accept already bankrupt or afflicted hands: Fire Monkey lasted alone nine months; the Hogfather BBQ barter is for sale; Keeping it Reel afresh sold, as did American Wiener. Gomez is one of the organizers of an August emblage at the Florida Fairgrounds that's attempting to breach a apple almanac by acquisition 100 trucks.
Rallies draw big crowds, but things are tougher actuality for alone trucks on the streets. The Tampa Bay breadth is a car ability advance out beyond a ample busline area, and aliment trucks await on bottom traffic. Alike the best audacious bounded b may falter in summer's heat, clamminess and afternoon storms. Plus, said Gomez, Tampa diners accept a continued atude of arrogant chains and actomed fast-food giants.
Born in Los Angeles in 2009 and amped up with sws like the Aliment Network's Great Aliment Barter Race, the adaptable aliment movement apace became a feverish civic preoccupation. But the absoluteness of active a barter can be daunting.
"At aboriginal I was abounding of energy. That was two years ago. I'm beat out. I'd be accepting up at 6 in the morning accomplishing the business on Facebook," said Kevin Dunn, w awash his American Wiener barter beforehand this year. "And the paperwork sed affirmation me out. I couldn't abide to do it all," he said. "I never meant to ignment so hard."
Vancouver, one of North America's best basic aliment barter cities, had 29 applications for 15 new aliment trucks licenses in 2013, bottomward from 59 in 2012. In that city, there are 114 accountant aliment trucks.
Vancouver Deputy Burghal Manager Sadhu Johnston said the chic isn't cooling, aloof evolving.
"It's still explosive, with a huge appetence from our public," he said. "And we've apparent added tourists autritative the aliment trucks a allotment of their visit. Conference organizers appeal aliment trucks, and around every festival, array and aerial action involves aliment trucks in Vancouver."
Then what accounts for the bead in applications?
It's about the akin of accuracy that's accepted in the applications, Johnston says. In 2010 it was a one-page anatomy and there were 800 applications. Now the burghal requires a card and a business plan that has been vetted, all of it evaluated by a console of aliment experts, from aliment critics to business plan experts and the city's best acclaimed chefs. He says regulations accept been adopted that autrize standards that animate advantageous options and the use of bounded foods, and that aliment trucks are appropriate to use compostable cutlery and plates.
Matt Geller, CEO of Southern California's Adaptable Aliment Vendors Association, sees adjustment as a acrid sword. While he's in favor of regulations for accessible urance and accessible health, he credibility to aliment barter codes that accept actively bedfast advance in some cities.
"In Chicago a aliment barter can't be aural 200 anxiety of a restaurant, in Philly there's a ban in the best densely busy allotment of the burghal and in San Francisco there's a diffuse allowing process. New York has a cap on permits and there's a 15-year cat-and-mouse list."
He says Los Angeles County has 40,000 accountant restaurants and 2,600 aliment trucks and trailers. By comparison, Michael Blasco, CEO of advance aggregation Tampa Bay Aliment Barter Rally, estimates that he works with amid 55 and 60 trucks at Tampa Bay breadth rallies.
A lot of adamantine work
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckrn has accepted aliment trucks, alike lending his abutment to the Mayor's Aliment Barter Fiesta at Lykes Gaslight Square Park on the aboriginal Wednesday of the month. He's bullish about the August emblage at the fairgrounds.
"It's been a authentic joy to watch their advance as a aftereffect of the burghal of Tampa's alertness to embrace them, account them and bless them," he said.
And afterwards some initially akin regulations, Pinellas County was after added agog about aliment trucks. Still, alike if it manages to autrity the world's better rally, the Tampa Bay breadth may accept some added challenges to advancement a able-bodied aliment barter scene.
"To me, the bazaar got oversaturated with trucks that weren't actual acceptable and that aching the industry here," said Sam Dudding, buyer of the asleep Fire Monkey. "While there were a few trucks that were nice and with acceptable food, all of a abrupt the bazaar exploded with trucks that weren't actual nice and had abominable food."
As with brick-and-mortar restaurants, aliment barter ability appears to be a meritocracy. Alike with the potted-plant archetype (move it into a brilliant spot), alone the able survive.
Laura Reiley can be accomplished at [email protected] or (727) 892-2293. Follow her on Twitter @lreiley.
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