Here’s a good breakdown of what went down Monday at City Hall regarding the food vendor brou ha ha.
As I wrote in our current magazine, the greatest threat to the no-brainer issue of allowing unfettered vending would be to pass a half measure piece of legislation and it looks more and more likely that will happen. One curious foodie attended the meeting and reported to another website. Among other highlights, the limitations listed include the following:
***Only 25 permits would be issued on a first-come, first-served basis for a fee of $483 dollars annually with an additional $391 for startup costs.
***Street food vending would be allowed on sidewalks, so long as foot traffic was not impeded; or private party, including parking lots. It was also determined that street parking would not be available for food trucks.
***Vendors would be required to gain the permission of the property owners as well as the owners of adjacent properties. The foodie noted that concern was raised about whether this would open a “permission market,” which would include property owners selling rights to their sidewalks to the highest bidders.
***And the most controversial point of the day: Permits would be issued only to vendors who already own a brick-and-mortar kitchen that had been inspected by the city.
As the foodie suggests, the last point is the real stickler, as it would seemingly disqualify upstart food vendors as well as early street-food adopters like the Chef Shack, a popular farmers market staple. Existing businesses like Pizza Luce and Hell’s Kitchen (and their mobile food concept, Hell on Wheels) would be allowed first dibs on the permits.
Most ironically the article included a quote from Cynthia Gerdes of Hell’s Kitchen who opined that “I paid $33,000 in rent last month, and now I have to compete with someone who pays $400 a year for their food license?” What a bone headed idea that is. How is this any different than any other business? If you choose (and yes, it is a choice) to pay $33,000 in rent then you are crazy. Second, these types of complainers already compete with those paying less overhead and have been for as long as there have been restaurants. Third, a falafel cart selling 100 sandwiches at lunch helps businesses in the same way that restaurants on the same block help each other to grow business. Fourth, HK is getting into the mobile food game so its unfairly hypocritical, and fifth, based on my visit there last Sunday for brunch, the biggest problem HK has is not the burgeoning groundswell of support for mobile food carts. It's their own food and service, which have gone downhill in a big way over the last year.
What a disaster of a meal rude greeting, a 40-minute wait for food, missed items on our order, major service missteps, six out of seven cold plates of food, and inedible items (truly). And the most puzzling of all: Even if you think its kitschy to have your servers wear pajamas, the least you can do is insist they are clean, not pilled, stained, and wrinkled. What a turnoff.
Rick says that Giggles is doing Chicken Fried Bacon at the State Fair this year. Bravo! I have been at the Texas State Fair twice in the last three years and I can tell you that despite the seeming wrongful death of a perfectly great ingredient, the over exposure of bacon and the completely illogical “put everything on a stick” game that is at work here. I can also tell you without exaggeration that chicken fried bacon is amazing. I am praying that Giggles doesn’t make the same mistake that others do and skimps on the slice. Cut it thin and the item is all batter. Cut it thick and it’s a transcendent food that will sell like crazy. Don’t half measure it, Giggles. I beg you.
Jaime OIiver has the right idea, so does local wunder-chef Seth Daugherty, and I am cautiously optimistic about the future of my kids school mealtime experiences based on what happened yesterday in Washington DC. One problem, of course, is that I can smell the half measures from here. Why not simply insist on having fresh wholesome meals for our kids served in our schools? I am guessing because it costs too much, no one in a position to do anything about it can agree on what a fresh, wholesome meal looks like. Which means, the companies that profit the most (many of whom are based right here in Minnesota) from our children’s horrifically piss poor school meal programs are not incented to advocate for change. Doesn’t this kind of thing tick you off?
Editor’s Note: mspmag.com would like to acknowledge Chuck Terhark as the “foodie” who reported on the City Hall meeting. For his complete article on metromag.com, please click here (or at the link posted above). We appreciate the reporting, and are confident that Andrew likes Chuck. Well, we think.