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Late-night food trucks get a test run in Minneapolis

Now imagine this, at night. Beautiful, isn't it?

Now imagine this, at night. Beautiful, isn't it? Anna Reed/ Star Tribune

Have you been to downtown Minneapolis at bar close lately? If you’re beyond the point of clubbin’, you might be gobsmacked to discover the hordes that flow into the streets precisely at 2 a.m. It’s something like a mashup of Fleet Week and a college campus during homecoming. With more booze and definitely more foot traffic and vehicle clusterfucks.

The city of Minneapolis has taken note, and has some plans to deal with said clusters. Plans that include parking restrictions, vehicle restrictions in certain areas, and a few other details far less interesting than this little tidbit: late-night food trucks!

Until now, the food truck restrictions on downtown Minneapolis streets have been pretty restrictive. 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for trucks operating in certain bus lanes (essentially, where most trucks cluster during the lunch hour near Marquette and 2nd Avenue) and in private parking lots, and then only one truck per lot. Trucks can park in other legal parking spots in downtown, but the trucks cannot be set up or moved between 7:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Trucks can operate until midnight nightly, but only if they are more than 300 feet away from a residential building.

These restrictions essentially relegate the experience of hot, drippy tacos running down shirtsleeves to office-types, who, let’s face it, have plenty of other options for afternoon sustenance.

What about the rest of us, bumbling out of a bar late at night, realizing we’ve forgotten to eat anything since noon? This is when America needs drippy tacos the most. It’s an unassailable fact. Not only will food take the edge off the late-night drunken hangries, it will undoubtedly add to the vibrancy of downtown and increase commerce.

So, in addition to the actual traffic flow restrictions (only limos, buses, and taxis allowed to enter the restricted area on First and Hennepin Avenues around bar closing time, and parking restrictions on Third Street North -- stopping or parking will not be allowed after 11 p.m. on both sides of Third Street between Hennepin Avenue and Second Avenue North Friday through Sunday nights), food trucks will be allowed to operate on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., on First Avenue North, north of Sixth Street.

Here’s the bad news (because you know there had to be some): This weekend is only a pilot program. The city will evaluate how it went, and then will make a determination whether to have the trucks regularly in the future. So if you want late-night street eats, don’t rest on your laurels.

Here is the list of scheduled trucks for each night:

Friday, October 28:
Sandy's Grill
Sasquatch Sandwiches
Purple People Feeder
Habanero Tacos
Pharaoh's Gyros
Gastro Truck
New Bohemia
Fabled Rooster
Xstream Cuisine

Saturday, October 29:
Pharaoh's Gyros
Brava
Del Sur Empanada
New Bohemia
Purple People Feeder
Fabled Rooster
Habanero Tacos
Wholesoul, Lavender and Sage
Gastro Truck

Sunday, October 30:
Habanero Tacos
Pharaoh's Gyros
Fabled Rooster
Xstream Cuisine
Sandy's Grill
New Bohemia
Chicks on Wheels