Friday, July 8, 2011

Food Trucks Organize to Gain Access to Clayton

Posted By on Fri, Jul 8, 2011 at 4:00 PM

I think it might be time for that PUSH! Who wants to help get Cupcakes in Clayton?

Clayton ordinances, like other... than a minute ago via Facebook Favorite Retweet Reply

So said messages posted repeatedly to Twitter by most St. Louis food truck operators on July 1.

Jeff Pupillo, co-owner of Sarah's Cake Stop, explains that the social media barrage was the first event of a recently-formed alliance between St. Louis-area food trucks, but was rather impromptu. He and Mangia Mobile co-owner Catherine Daake were texting and decided it was time to put out the call immediately.

Erik Jacobs, owner of Wanderlust Pizza and a former brick-and-mortar restaurant owner explained: "We've come together to form an association of St. Louis food trucks in order to speak as one voice. The ordinances in place are there, but if enough Clayton residents want access to our unique offerings, then hopefully their city government will listen and work with us to provide Claytonites and those who work in Clayton really awesome food.

"They [the city of Clayton] say the law says no mobile vendors, but we'd really love to work with them to change that. I'm a Clayton resident, and I'm all for it."

Clayton Economic Developer Gary Carter pointed us to city ordinance 505.100 to explain why the city doesn't allow food trucks. It reads:


It shall be unlawful for any person to place for display and sale or to sell on any public highway, street or alley in the City any groceries, provisions, magazines, newspapers, commodities, vegetables, fruit, produce, goods, wares or merchandise. (CC 1970 §20-29; CC 1947 §7-30.1)


Except when and as designated in association with community events, it shall be unlawful to place for display and sale or to sell upon any public sidewalk in the City any groceries, provisions, magazines, commodities, vegetables, fruit, produce, goods, wares or merchandise, except that it shall be lawful to sell newspapers upon any public sidewalk within the City and to place for display and storage such newspapers only in boxes as provided in Section 505.140 except further, that it shall be lawful to provide food service or customer seating areas pursuant to an outdoor dining permit. (CC 1970 §20-30; CC 1947 §7-20; Ord. No. 4821 §1, 8-27-91)

Carter said that last Friday's push hadn't registered at Clayton City Hall. He wasn't aware that the food truck alliance had commenced until his office was contacted by Gut Check.

Pupillo and the other members of the alliance are aware that their only chance of doing regular business in Clayton relies on customers letting Clayton City Hall know that they want the trucks. Until that happens, Carter sees no plans to change the laws.

"We've talked to our restaurants -- we have over 80 of them in a two and a half square mile area," says Carter regarding the lack of demand his office has seen for the trucks. "They're concerned that they've invested in brick and mortar. Rent is above average in Clayton, on top of the recession and the investment they've made."

Carter pointed out that food trucks are allowed at the Clayton Farmer's Market, where Cha Cha Chow often parks.

Pupillo holds that the food trucks might improve business in Clayton. He cites an editorial from the Webster-Kirkwood Times by Kathy Evans of Kirkwood, where Sarah's Cake Truck has been doing business for a year. Evans researched what happened in New York City nearly 80 years ago when food carts were abolished because of claims they were unfair competition to immobile businesses.


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