City stifles innovation: Follow the food truck squabble
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • July 29, 2011 @ 1:18pm
Protection vs. liberation. Simply put, this is what the food truck legal battle has come down to. Established stationary restaurants—particularly vocal Elmwood Tacos & Subs, Just Pizza and Jim’s Steakout—are vehemently against letting Buffalo’s mobile food trucks within 500 feet or less of brick-and-mortar businesses. Truly, the food trucks want freedom, defined by the city’s acceptance of innovation and established restaurants’ willingness to embrace competition. As Lloyd Taco Truck’s Peter Cimino said, “Let the best taco win.”
The issue will be raised again when the Council’s summer recess ends in early fall. Basically, the advantages that Buffalo’s four food trucks could have gained from the passing of the bill—namely set-in-stone details of where the food trucks can and cannot set-up—have been delayed until the weather becomes more unfavorable to the mobile food business. Until then, hazy unwritten rules and frequent permit battles will be the consequences.
News of the Council’s decision exploded on social media Thursday night, with loyal Lloyd fans bemoaning the decision, Roaming Buffalo’s Christopher Taylor echoing the disappointment and influential media members furiously penning a response.
Here are good resources to follow the on-going feud, as Lloyd is set to draw up a Facebook petition, while Roaming Buffalo has a sign-able petition on its truck. Stay tuned for further details.
—The Buffalo News’ Brian Meyer wrote the initial article on the Common Council decision.
—WNY Media writer and legalese expert Alan Bedenko wrote a noteworthy piece on the decision. His best line? “In Buffalo, it’s never easy. There are too many entrenched and intransigent bureaucracies that have zero incentive to change or be efficient.” It’s not the first time Bedenko’s complained about the city, but in this case, he’s got my support.
—Nick Mendola tells us he loves food, then explains how Lloyd’s small business was a boon to his own blossoming organization.
—Lloyd’s Facebook page is littered with sympathizers and a few folks with balanced perspectives. It’s a good place to go to have your voice heard, as Lloyd does a phenomenal job of interacting with its commenters.
—Christopher Taylor, the owner of Roaming Buffalo, is outspoken as usual, writing the following on the truck’s Facebook page: “It’s such a shame that some local restaurants think so low of their customers. Instead of stepping up their game and making a quality product they go whining to city hall like lil two year olds.”
—If you consume your news and opinions through Twitter, search for the hashtag #BuffaloStreetFoodNow. Elmwood Tacos & Subs appears to have shut down its Facebook page—because of the negative feedback, perhaps? Needless to say, Buffalo’s street food contingent has some loyal, intense followers. Don’t count out the trucks yet.