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Food trucks lobby for downtown Raleigh access

Posted January 20, 2011
Updated July 27, 2011

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— Five months ago, Mike Stenke opened his own pizza place on wheels.

“Some people said it was really special,” Stenke said.

Named for his young son, Klausie’s Pizza operates out of a truck and sets up shop in different spots throughout the Triangle.

“This has now become our family’s dream,” he said.

But Stenke’s food truck can’t be found in downtown Raleigh because the traveling businesses are not allowed to park on city streets.

Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin chairs a committee looking into the food truck issue.

“We have gotten a lot of feedback from restaurant owners, and you’re right, they’re not happy,” Baldwin said Thursday.

Food truck owners, like Stenke, are lobbying to operate in the city, but some restaurant owners have concerns.

“To invest our dollars, pay our taxes to be in a prime location, it should be guarded for us by the city of Raleigh,” said Niall Hanley, who operates three restaurants in the Glenwood South neighborhood.

While he supports food trucks, Hanley said they inevitably would operate where there is a critical mass of people traffic at night, and that’s Glenwood South.

“Do we want a city of food trucks, or do we want a city of locally owned restaurants?” Hanley said.

Hanley compared his situation to a shopping mall, noting that there was no way a mall would let a competing food truck operate next to its tenants.

Stenke said while losing the Raleigh market has hurt, he won't let it impact the bottom line.

“For one thing, my son’s face is on the truck, and I’m not going to let a business with my son’s face go out of business,” Stenke said.

Food trucks lobby for downtown Raleigh access Food trucks lobby for downtown Raleigh access

The food truck issue is expected to be discussed during a committee meeting next week.

A possible compromise could be allowing food trucks to operate in private parking lots, but Stenke said that is not what the food truck owners are asking for.

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  • smalldogsrule Jan 20, 2011

    Heck, I'd like to be able to just get a hot dog cart, but the regulations requiring you to be associated with a restaurant kitchen that is health inspected is quite onerous. health department can inspect carts and storage facilities, they do it in New York.

  • RB-1 Jan 20, 2011

    Dalefan - "Maybe these things should have been considered before investing in this kind of business.

    And what's wrong with that kind of business? That "kind" of business has been in "business" far longer than sit down restaurants have been.

    Make a place for them, let them park there, and let the taxpayers down there decide whether they're good enough or convenient enough to keep in business down there or not.

    A government telling a legal business they can't be there takes that right away from the taxpayers - and personally, I've had quite enough of that because if government knows better, why is government going broke?

    Set up a drive in food court downtown, charge the vendors for their spaces, and let the people decide whether they want this service downtown or not.

    If not, the business won't do well and will go elsewhere. Then the case will be closed at the taxpayer's say, not the government's.

  • RB-1 Jan 20, 2011

    As it is right now, there are only two good fairly priced restaurants downtown, the cafeteria at Progress Energy and the old barbecue place on Davies.

    Otherwise, the food is mediocre and highly priced.

  • RB-1 Jan 20, 2011

    I see no problem with food trucks or kiosks downtown, the problem is - the streets are too narrow unless they're going to be in a regular paid parking space which they pay the parking on, for the duration of their stay in it.

  • anonemoose Jan 20, 2011

    Next the restaurant owners will be wanting the city to not grant business licenses to new restaurants in order to protect their turn.

  • driverkid3 Jan 20, 2011

    If the restaurants are as good as they think they are, people will go there and avoind the food trucks. They are all over the place in other areas I've lived in and they all (restaurants AND trucks) make plenty of money.

  • ykm Jan 20, 2011

    liter.

  • They call me CATMAN Jan 20, 2011

    I will have to agree with the foodtruck owners on this one. Really how much business will a food truck take away from a restaurant. This sounds like sour grapes from the restaurant owners.