Tag Archives: dc

Yes to food trucks, but yes to Title 24 as written?

25 Aug

So, I am hopeful that the new regulations will be worked out to continue to keep mobile food trucks in DC, and so that the brick and mortar and mobile businesses can all get along.  Frankly, I don’t even really see the competition, if a cupcake truck is in farragut north I don’t see how it’s competing with the cupcake establishments in dupont or georgetown.  If I want a cupcake and I’m working downtown, I’m not going to fight traffic to get there and then stand in line at Georgetown Cupcake. But with all of the “yes to title 24″ hype, I think there are some problems with Title 24 as written:

 Section 556.1-556.2 – Taken together, these sections suggest that food trucks have to keep moving unless they have a customer, and if they are still sitting in the same spot without a customer, have to close. Once they do so they cannot re-open to serve customers at that same location. What if there is a 5 minute gap between customers, do they have to move then? If they are paying for the parking spot, as required by proposed Section 556.3, then why can’t they sit out the meter and keep serving customers that show up? Who’s going to enforce this? Can a food truck be forced to move by a meter enforcer even if they have paid the meter? If so, there’s a potential legal challenge there. A better, and more enforceable, solution would be to allow food trucks to sit in the parking space they have paid for.

Section 556.4 (which makes Section 535 apply to mobile food trucks)– “Vending Truck” requirements – is nonsensical. The section purports to be different than the sections of vending carts and vending stands, and yet requires umbrellas for food trucks. I have yet to see a food truck with an umbrella that meets the definition, other than perhaps FoodChainDC. (But FoodChainDC may be in a different position than other “trucks,” it seems like it could fit into the cart definition).

Section 556.8 – Fines for food trucks within 60 feet of an establishment selling the “same type of food” – This section may be “void or vagueness” as written. That doctrine provides that a government cannot impose fines on conduct that a reasonable person cannot tell is prohibited by the statute. As an example, is a cupcake truck the “same type of food” as a Starbucks that sells cupcakes and muffins? Since there is a Starbucks practically every block downtown, if that is how this is interpreted, that could make it hard to abide by the law. Is a lobster truck the “same type of food” as downtown restaurants like Kinkeads, DC Coast, etc. that serve seafood? Now, are my examples a reasonable interpretation? I wouldn’t consider those to be the same type of food myself, but I can imagine that restaurants that feel threatened would want a broad interpretation of this to keep competitors further away. A better solution would be to take this out or at the least, make it clearer when a food truck may be violating this provision. But why is this provision even necessary? How/who is going to enforce this anyway? MPD?

Section 538 – Advertising – I have seen at least one commenter suggest the restrictions on advertising to only advertising that is the name of the business, price, and food or service sold is an unconstitutional burden on free speech. Without weighing in on that issue at this point, there are some problematic issues for food trucks I see in this section. That advertising of the truck can only be on the “front” and not the back or street side (Section 538.2) seems unnecessary. That advertising has to be mechanically printed and not written (Section 538.4) could also be an unnecessary burden for some food trucks, I have seen handwritten descriptions of items for sale.

P.S. this is not to be construed in any way as legal advice, this is just my personal opinion.

Check out other stories on this debate:

DininginDC

WeLoveDC

Review of the Taste of Mount Vernon Triangle

22 Aug

The taste was $15 in advance, $20 at the door this Saturday for the Taste of Mount Vernon Triangle, a restaurant crawl of triangle eateries: Buddha Bar, Kushi, Busboys and Poets, Taylor Gourmet, Harry’s Soul Cafe, Papa John’s, and soon-to-be Mandu.  Other than Buddha Bar, which did a great job, I think a $20 dollar fee was on the pricey side for what we got.  The whole experience was a bit disappointing actually.  It would have been nice if the restaurants had used the opportunity to show off and seek our business.

Buddha Bar

We were told to start here first, but I really wish we had wound up here last.    The staff was inviting and friendly, and we were presented with several options, including the Massachusetts Avenue roll, a salmon roll wrapped in cucumber, beef satay, tuna sashimi on a fried wonton, and a white sangria.

Kushi

The biggest disappointment was Kushi, for sure.  The staff basically ignored us and we were presented with a pre-packaged rice wrap with plum inside.  Wow. Coming there after Buddha Bar, it was obvious which one was the winner.

Busboys and Poets

I didn’t bother taking a picture of the non-alcoholic pomegranate lemonade we were served at the bar.  It was salty and tart.  We didn’t stay for long.

Taylor Gourmet

We had two choices of sandwiches – turkey and italian.  The italian was tasty, I would definitely go back for that sandwich, but the turkey was a bit skimpy.  We noshed on them at a table outside.

Mandu

Mandu hasn’t moved into the triangle yet, but they had a stand outside their new location.  We each got one seafood cake.  It wasn’t hot, and was a bit greasy, but it was tasty, even if we didn’t know what seafood was in it.  And  I appreciated that they participated.

Henry’s Soul Cafe

We were each given a small tart-sized sweet potato pie.  The pie filling was tasty as usual.  But it wasn’t exactly a great deal.  But since I love Henry’s, I can’t say anything else.

Papa John’s

They had several boxes of pizza to choose from.   It was cold, but we took multiple pieces and warmed them at home.  Not much else to say, I like Papa John’s pizza, and I was happy to have something to eat at that point!

So my overall summary: I hope that if they do this next year that the participating restaurants do more.  As a fellow Triangler, and someone who enjoys the food and drinks of Kushi and Busboys and Poets, I was a bit embarrassed by the poor showing by some; and I was glad friends couldn’t make it.  But I’m looking forward to going to Buddha Bar soon.

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