Earlier this year, What the Fork reported on Alameda’s newly-passed mobile food ordinance, which went into effect on February 6. Hailed as one of the most permissive in the Bay Area, the policy allowed food trucks to park on almost every street in the city, in addition to five approved off-street locations. Only one question remained: Would mobile food vendors find it worth their while to show up in large numbers, given the island city’s relatively sparse population?
It looks likes the answer to that question will be a resounding yes — at least on Saturdays starting next week: Today, Matt Cohen, proprietor of the wildly popular Off the Grid mobile food events, officially announced his newest market, which will launch next Saturday, June 2, at Alameda South Shore Center.
The latest in what has become a torrent of weekly mobile food events (“food pods”) launching in Oakland takes off this Thursday: A three-truck pod organized by Kate McEachern, proprietor of the CupKates mobile cupcakery, will be open for business at the intersection of 12th and Broadway from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Remember how my post about this Friday’s return of Bites Off Broadway described Karen Hester’s food pod as the very first to launch under Oakland’s new interim policy allowing such recurring mobile food events? Not so fast.
City of Oakland approval pending, next Friday, May 11, will mark the return of Bites Off Broadway, the weekly convocation of gourmet food trucks in front of the Studio One Art Center on 45th Street. The brainchild of community organizer Karen Hester, the event last took place back in October — since then Oakland has instituted a new interim policy allowing mobile “food pod” events on a limited basis.
If you fail to be charmed by bike-powered entrepreneurship, then your little black heart may well be beyond redemption. Whether it’s an eco-powered three-wheeler serving up tacos and breakfast burritos (El TacoBike) or shade-grown coffee beans delivered by former Wall Street Guys (Bicycle Coffee), bike delivery gives a twee boost to any product’s appeal.
Last week the city of Alameda quietly passed one of the Bay’s most permissive mobile food ordinances, opening up virtually every city street to food trucks. Almost the only restrictions are a ban on parking 25 feet from crosswalks, 50 feet from driveways, or on the same block as elementary or middle schools while in session. Five off-street locations are also approved: Alameda Point, the College of Alameda, South Shore Shopping Center, Harbor Bay Business Park, and Marina Village Business Park.
After Elizabeth August gave up mobile food in disgust (check out her impassioned response to the 21Web closure) in early December, her Guerrilla Grub cart went on Craigslist. Don't worry everybody: it's staying in the East Bay.
Despite operating on a private lot, a small rotating food truck market at 21st Street and Webster was shut down last week by the City of Oakland. A $2,000 fine was levied on Hisuk Dong, owner of the event’s vacant lot space (he also owns nearby Mua).
Oakland City Council's approval of an interim mobile food policy was a measured win; it will be many months before the city adopts the progressive, comprehensive mobile-food policy of say, Emeryville. The temporary resolution only allows for food-truck events, leaving a trillion details to be worked out (curbside vending for individual trucks, food carts versus trucks, etc.). Nonetheless, many event organizers are breaking out the confetti.
At least one food-pod organizer is not psyched for the city’s new interim policy. Elizabeth August, longtime mobile-food advocate and oft-thwarted event organizer, announced Saturday that her Oakland Mobile Food Group brand and website is on the market. She is also selling the Guerrilla Grub food truck to focus exclusively on her catering business.