Air Tran Loves Street Food

If you fly Air Tran in August, reach into the pocket in front of you and grab a print copy of this article on Atlanta’s street food written by Stephanie Davis Smith.

Compatriots

Jennifer and John Maley, who live in Ansley Park and run the Atlanta food blog Food We’ve Eaten, linked us last week in a blog post on street food. John writes,

Personally, I think there’s something really appealing to being able to walk down the street and pick up a hot dog, or a burro pollo, and enjoy it al fresco. There’s none of the experiential overhead of a restaurant to deal with  (waiters, counters, decor, elevator music, etc.). It’s just about the food. Plus, when everyone is forced to improvise seating, you end up a little more connected to the people around you, even if you don’t necessarily talk to them.

We agree!

No Longer Alone

Chicago wants to help us. New York takes notice of Atlanta’s efforts toward legalizing street food. We are feeling the love!

Look at this report from the Big Apple featuring a food fight in New Haven;  vendors in front of Yale New Haven Hospital; and a picture from our own Food Truck Extravaganza in Buckhead!

What We Can Learn from Chicago

Food truck illustration by Laura Park

A detailed article in the Chicago Reader entitled “The Food Truck Roadblock” reveals that, much like Atlanta, Chicago feels shut out of a national movement  other cities are benefiting from.

“Why can’t Chicago have street food like LA or New York?” asks Mike Nualla.

Substitute the word “Atlanta” for “Chicago” in the paragraph below, and you have it in a nutshell.

Food trucks and pushcarts aren’t illegal in Chicago, but they’re heavily restricted. You can’t do any cooking, cutting, or food preparation of any kind on board: everything must be precooked and packaged in a licensed kitchen. You can’t stop anywhere for more than two hours, and you can’t sell anything after 10 PM. So while a handful of businesses like Edgewater’s Vee-Vee’s African Restaurant are able to operate trucks above the radar, serving prepackaged meals to cabbies and others on the go, others that prepare food onboard are doing it illegally.

Fine-dining chefs with vending aspirations are doing heavy lifting in Chicago. Matt Maroni, who until recently worked as executive chef for the private Mid-America Club, recently pitched to alderman Scott Waguespack a 43-page comparative study of food-truck policies in six other cities and a model ordinance for Chicago that would allow truck operators to cook fresh food a la minute for their customers.

Maroni believes that his concept for a truck–flatbreads­with various toppings like short ribs and pork belly­-could work under existing legislation, but his proposal would “significantly liberalize the rules on mobile food dispensers in the language of the city’s municipal code.” In his scheme, “applicants would submit a business plan to the city, including a menu and a blueprint of the truck, detailing specs for equipment, counter space, sinks, storage, waste disposal, ventilation, window dimensions, a power source, plumbing, and a source of potable running water.”

Check out Maroni’s advocacy site (chicagofoodtrucks.com) which will “serve as the online headquarters for a professional association of food-truck operators, where for a membership fee they’d have access to information on everything from purchasing equipment to finding locations and kitchens to operate from” and include a GPS feature that will allow customers to track the locations of their favorite trucks.

[Image by Laura Park from the Chicago Reader]

Carne Asada Is Not a Crime

Street Vendor Project

Read about the trials and tribulations of New York vendors who fall prey to what is called “vendrification” –what happens when neighborhoods first welcome, then try to get rid of their colorful street food scene. This guide clarifies the most commonly violated rules and ways to a better vendor world.