Monday, April 21, 2014

City Hall's food truck experiment starts today throughout South Downtown

Posted By on Mon, Apr 21, 2014 at 9:51 AM

City Hall officials will gauge whether food trucks should actually serve sandwiches, tacos, and other items on public property starting today in a swath of Downtown that has long struggled with food access.

This afternoon, the city will open up its roads to mobile food vendors and let them sell BBQ sandwiches, wraps, and other menu items in the area known as "Government Walk" near City Hall, the Gold Dome, and Fulton County's sprawling administrative complex. It marks the first time food trucks can set up shop public right of way in Atlanta.

Food truck operators will be able to sell to hungry men and women from 18 designated locations on a first-come, first-serve basis each day between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. - the exact time of each area is determined by the adjacent building's use. Trucks can park in two back-to-back metered spots on Central Avenue, Mitchell Street, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Trinity Avenue, and Pryor Street.

The influx of food trucks follows a new city ordinance passed last month by Atlanta City Council that expanded where food vendors could operate their mobile businesses. Until now, food trucks had only been allowed to serve food on private property in places such as the Atlanta Food Truck Park off Howell Mill Road or surface parking lots. Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean, the proposal's sponsor, thinks the trial will be a "win-win for foodies" and could lead to vendors eventually establishing brick-and-mortar restaurants.

"Food trucks have been popular on private properties for several years and the demand for public property vending by food truck customers was apparent," Councilman Kwanza Hall, who represents parts of Downtown, said in a statement. He also encouraged local government workers to give the food trucks a try in the coming weeks.

In addition, food truck operators also have fewer hoops to jump through with a new streamlined permitting process with the city. Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness officials will still require business owners to comply with health inspections.

It's expected that city officials will look at expanding food truck access to other parts of the city if the pilot program proves successful.

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