Food Truck Association Holds 'Day Without a Food Truck' to Protest Proposed Regulations

Food truck operators are suspending lunch service Monday to protest proposed city regulations

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    Jhaan Elker
    File image; Sâuçá truck during a 2011 event.

    Food truck operators suspended service Monday to protest proposed city regulations.

    Seventeen mobile vendors converged on Farragut Square during lunch hour, which wouldn't be so unusual. But instead of dishing up grub, they spent an hour asking would-be customers to write the D.C. Council about the proposed regulations, which would limit the number of food trucks in certain areas, require trucks to park only in lottery-assigned spaces and ban trucks altogether in areas with narrow sidewalks.

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    The Food Truck Association of Metropolitan Washington says the new rules would result in fewer choices and decreased competition.

    "The proposed restrictions have little to do with protecting public health and safety, and everything to do with restricting competition and consumer choice," said Doug Povich, Food Truck Association chairman, in a statement Monday. Povich is also co-owner of Red Hook Lobster Pound D.C., a popular food truck.

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    The Washington Area Restaurant Association contends food trucks are almost unregulated competitors who compete outside the doors of their businesses, News4's Tom Sherwood reported.

    At least two food trucks have shut down over the anticipated regulations, DCist reports.

    Most recently, Cori Bryant, the owner of Pinup Panini, said last week that she "just can't afford the war on trucks," according to DCist.

    However, Pedro Ribeiro, a spokesman for Mayor Vincent Gray told the Washington Post in March that the regulations were "not as bleak as food trucks want to make it out to be."

    Ribeiro said the city would allow "new-generation" food trucks to serve on the Mall, and would create a vending zone on the east campus of St. Elizabeth's Hospital, the Post reported.

    The a five-member D.C. Council committee will hold a public hearing about the proposed regulations Friday. It's unclear whether the regulations have enough votes to pass, Sherwood reported.

    Stay with News4 and for more.