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Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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Council approves new rules allowing food trucks (and trailers) to operate downtown

Council approves new rules allowing food trucks (and trailers) to operate downtown

A popular pizza trailer could be the first mobile food vendor to hit the streets of downtown Rochester this summer.

Derrick Chapman, owner of Twisted Barrel Wood Fired Pizza and outspoken advocate for new mobile food regulations, confirmed Tuesday that he will be applying for a licence to operate downtown. He plans to set up for the lunch hour on weekdays while also offering occasional late-night service for the bar crowd.

 
 

The new ordinance approved by the city council on Monday used the term "mobile food vendors," clearing the way for non-motorized food trailers like Twisted Barrel  and not just trucks, as originally proposed  to operate in designated zones downtown (same as previously reported, with the exception of the late-night zone, which was moved one block to the east). 

 
 

In another last-minute change, the council also agreed to change the fee structure. The original draft of the ordinance set the licensing and franchising fees together at $1,500 for the year. But Council Member Nick Campion successfully introduced a tiered system that will start at $900 ($750 franchise fee + $150 licensing fee) for the first year.

 
 

The council still needs to give the new ordinance a second reading on June 6, meaning the rules would likely go into effect June 12, according to City Clerk Aaron Reeves. However, the council has the option of waiving the second reading at its meeting on May 16.

 

"I've already heard from 2 trucks that plan to get licensed and start this summer," local coffee propietor and food truck advocate Abe Sauer wrote on his business's Facebook page. "Very different food. You'll love it. And we'll be just down the street for all your coffee (and banh mi) needs."

The new ordinance will serve as a pilot program. The council will review the regulations at the end of the season to see if any adjustments need to be made.

 
 

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(Cover photo: File / Kelly Hunter / CC)

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