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.
Last night Oakland City Council took baby steps forward on the city's mobile food policy, unanimously approving a resolution that will allow food pod events in Districts 1-4 until January 2013. Before the vote, twenty-seven different people made statements on the resolution, with the overwhelming majority speaking in favor. Even the president of the Oakland Restaurant Association, an organization that seems allergic to mobile food, spoke out in support.
Off the Grid impresario Matt Cohen has a new lark. Each week he’s loaning out a food truck to a different Berkeley brick and mortar for his Wednesday night pods. “Everybody likes to do something quirky and new,” Cohen said. Oh you crazy guy.
The annual Eat Real Festival starts today in Jack London Square, one of the rare times food trucks are officially permitted in Oakland (outside, of course, the so-called Pilot Project zone in Fruitvale and other parts of East Oakland). At least one local food vendor wants city officials to know how unfair that is.
It’s a Wednesday night, and you’re on North Shattuck, finally, to try the weekly food-truck pod Off the Grid.