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Food Trucks Sticking Around Through April 2013

Selectmen vote to extend the food truck permits through April of 2013, hearing that there is some support for the program.

Clear the old leftovers out of your fridge, because you can pick up some fresh tood truck feasts through April.

The Board voted to extend the town's food truck program through April of 2013, and to stop waiving the food vendor fee of $225 which were waived at the beginning of the food truck pilot.

This vote also extended the permits for Baja Taco TruckCompliments Food TruckParis CreperiePennypacker's Food Truck, and Renula's Greek Kitchen at their current dates and times. 

Health Department Director Alan Balsam added that in April, they intend to extend it again for 18 months, so that the food truck permits can be renewed the following December, at the same time as the other food vendor licenses that come before the Selectmen. 

Included with the memo from Kara Brewton, currently acting as director of planning and economic development, were about 220 signatures from customers in support of food trucks in Brookline. Brewton added that one of the most surprising things to her was that these signatures not only included residents all over Brookline, but as far away as Dorchester and other parts of Boston.

Brewton acknowledged that some of neighbors e-mailed them similar complaints to those made when the trucks were discussed in March about the presence of food trucks being unfair to brick-and-mortar restaurants. 

See some Letters to the Editor sent to Patch both for and against the food truck program.

To address that unfairness, Brewton's memo recommended lifting the waiver of the $225 food vendor fee, and increasing the parking fees to be more in line with those in Boston. Vendors will now pay $10 for parking per serving shift.

Chuck Silverston, owner of Paris Creperie--which according to Mobile Cuisine magazine has 2012's Best-Designed Food Truck--added that there are a number of differences between brick-and-mortar and food truck operations, such as maintenance fees and less flexibility with staffing. 

He also reported that the Creperie's business was up 3 percent, and that it is in part because of customers coming from the food truck. The truck has also created 22 new jobs for the creperie. 

One business owner reported that his business had taken a hit in the last six months. Nud Pob Restaurant owner Eddie Chen reported that his business had decreased in the last six months, had "dropped significantly, not terribly, but significantly." He attributed this drop to competition from four Brookline food trucks, two Boston trucks, and Boston University moving one building to a Kenmore location.

"I don’t think it’s a good idea to have all the food trucks on St. Mary’s St. Corner," Chen concluded.

After taking the vote, Selectman Dick Benka commented that he was interested in exploring ways food trucks could build synergy, such as a suggestion of guest chefs from Silverston. 

Other concerns brought before the Selectmen in March were food smells, customer noise and litter. Selectman Jesse Mermell asked whether these had been issues during the initial pilot program.

There had been one issue between neighbors and food trucks, to Balsam's knowledge, when a food truck was blocking a driveway while waiting for a car to be towed from its parking spot. 

Below is the full schedule of taco trucks which has been renewed by the Board's vote last night:

  • Baja Taco Truck – Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the median parking spaces across from 1842 Beacon Street.
  • Compliments Food Truck – Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the median parking spaces across from 1842 Beacon Street 
    Tuesday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Pleasant Street near 940 Commonwealth Avenue
  • Paris Creperie – Saturday 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., near 1622 Beacon Street.
    Sunday 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Monday to Friday 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. near 11 St. Mary's Street
  • Pennypacker's Food Truck –  Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. near 11 St. Mary's Street
  • Renula's Greek Kitchen – Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. near 11 St. Mary's Street 

 

 

MoonBeamWatcher October 17, 2012 at 04:46 PM
ONE issue . . . somebody MUST wake up and smell the coffee burning! Who pays for the trash pick up? All residents of Brookline including the mom and pop Busy Bee and "T Anthoneys" who pay BROOKLINE taxes and comply with the stringent and costly health and safety regulations! Will the loss of one of these business who hire locals and are contributors to the neighborhoods be worth this poor yuppy experiment? How about a no name gas truck in the St. Mary's, BU area to pump gas between 9pm and 4am for say . . . $3.50 a gallon? While the Tab posts a FREE schedule of these GYPSY Food trucks who don't even advertise in the TAB!
Grahame Turner October 17, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Then how about you contact the Tab and inform them of the oversight? Patch and Tab are two completely unrelated entities, and I have no control over the content of their website. Also, if you read beyond the headline, you would notice that there is an increase in fees and parking costs. Not to mention the case of Paris Creperie, where business is up because of the food truck (so says the owner). As far as health and safety regulations, the town has been inspecting them. Many of the delays at the beginning of the program were connected to checks for just that sort of thing. Not to mention an anecdote Dr. Balsam brought up about one food truck operator saying he had more inspections in 6 months than in (I believe it was) 10 years in Boston. And, speaking as someone who has eaten at a food truck once or twice: trash goes into the trash cans. It's the same as if a brick-and-mortar restaurant gave someone take-out that they walked away with, then dumped the container in a town bin.
MoonBeamWatcher October 17, 2012 at 07:13 PM
We know where you stand.
Grahame Turner October 19, 2012 at 02:30 PM
I don't stand for myth and misinformation getting into the public dialog on a subject, which is why I attempted to clear up some of the misconceptions you appear to have. I would rather not have someone read your comments and assume that the Selectmen haven't considered the things you brought up--especially because they did. Fitting a 30-40 minute discussion into a few hundred words is a challenge, so I want to be sure things are a clear as possible. I also stand for providing information to make peoples' lives easier. If a reader is looking for information about where to find the food trucks, I hope to provide that. So, yeah, I suppose you do now know where I stand: in favor of clarity.

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