Recently food trucks have gone from being the scurge of the food industry to the chic new fad to now an everyday occurrence.
I am undecided on the issue, but leaning a little toward the negative, so let me know what you think.
I have to admit I am biased. Everyday there is a lineup of food trucks parked along the street I walk home from the gym. At my tiredest and hungriest I am forced to pass by all these trucks with delicacies from who knows where (one of the points to be addressed later) but it is delicious. It’s like my own personal temptation island.
PRO: right off, I admit, they serve delicious food. These are not your papa’s roach coach.
CON: do we really need more oversized vehicles rumbling around the city, wrecking more taffic havoc? Do we really need food that convenient? Is it all that appetizing to be downing a curry wurst hotdog while sucking in exhaust from the truck its made and delivered in?
PRO: They are taking back the public space. By making sidewalks impomptu dining areas, the trucks have a purpose. The public can dwell, meet and eat on the sidewalk. Will window shopping increase? Will the street front become more important part of society? Shoddy sidewalks fixed faster? landscaping tended for more caringly?
CON: But don’t the trucks destroy our sense of place? In a city where life is constantly in transition changing jobs, moving from apartment to apartment, friends and social circles have moved from the neighborhood to the internet. Restaurants were the last consistent place. Will everything be mobile eventually? No reason to build anything anymore? Never stopping as we drive place to place calling in to business meetings on our mobile phones while wolfing down a kimchi burrito handed off by a passing truck?
PRO: Food trucks offer a viable entre into the restaurant business. It is an easier medium for entrepeneaurs to establish a business than the traditional brick and mortar restaurant.
CON: There is no regulation of rating system as is in place for traditional restaurants. how long can a truck’s AC keep that mayo at the right temp?
PRO: Being mobile, they can add to any event. Such as the many outdoor cinema events that also take back public space.
CON: Food trucks block parking spots. Presumably taking parking away from patrons of the brick and mortar businesses along that street.
In the end the decision is personal, so for me it comes down to this:
CON: Food trucks block bike lanes.
The city of LA classifies this as a level 3 bike lane:
So when an oversized truck parks here, it blocks traffic. And I know other trucks are oversized and this is probably an entire other issuue. But it is relevant and tips the scales for me. It shows disregard for other traffic and thus makes null all the other arguments about how it redeems lost public space.
Food trucks are another gimmick, a fad which makes no sense except for the coolness factor deigned upon it by hipster groupthink. Just like fixed gear bicycles.
One day we’ll reflect on this trend of eating food from 8 trucks circled on an abandoned valero gas station and be happy that it’s over. Probably from our perch on a chair at a restaurant with walls and a ceiling and atmosphere that relaxes and induces such a state of pensiveness.