Last week I grabbed lunch at Pizza Stop – one of my absolute, hands down, favorite food joints in Rochester. After placing my order and (stepping promptly to the right) I noticed a petition* taped to the countertop. It was asking the City of Rochester to provide compensation to downtown merchants who lost business during a lunchtime food truck/cart event the week before. The petition argued that the City’s promotion of the food trucks caused nearby brick & mortar shops to lose money…
For a moment my heart turned heavy and I nearly lost my appetite. This is a very complex issue – like having to choose between two really good friends. Is there no way for traditional restaurants to coexist with the rubber wheeled variety? I quietly asked myself, “would these Pizza guys banish me for life if they ever saw me chasing the Poutine truck down State Street?”
This also happens to be a very timely issue because the City of Rochester is hosting a public forum this Wednesday, August 20th. The City is looking to put a permanent food truck program in place by January 1, 2015 and they are seeking public comments regarding the current Food Truck Pilot Program .
Meanwhile, the Rochester Food Truck Alliance is pushing for additional changes to the program before that legislation goes into effect. Current regulations require food trucks to park in pre-determined, address-specific locations. The alliance of food truck owners would like more mobility, similar to the system currently in place in Buffalo.
In a recent statement, Elizabeth Clapp, co-owner of Le Petit Poutine and spokesperson for ROCFTA said, “We need city officials to see that food trucks are a way to enhance the Rochester landscape. What better way to do that than with comments from our food truck customers? … We are asking food truck fans to come to the meeting to show their support.”
That meeting will be held at City Hall, 30 Church Street, in room 302A on Wednesday 8/20, from 5-7pm.
But what do we do? Keep the trucks on a leash, or let them roam free? This is getting heavy. I’m slightly afraid to state my opinion outright for fear I might be greeted with a “NO SOUP FOR YOU” next time I dine out.
*In all fairness to Pizza Stop, the petition was also spotted at other downtown eateries.
Tags: Center City, downtown Rochester, Elizabeth Clapp, food trucks, Le Petit Poutine, Pizza Stop, public meeting, restaurants, Rochester, Rochester Food Truck Alliance (ROCFTA), Rochester restaurants, State Street
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