St. Paul restaurant owners say food trucks are eating profits

When the city of Minneapolis was creating its food truck policy, several restaurant owners spoke out against it, saying the competition was unfair.

Now that food trucks have come out in full force in downtown St. Paul, the Pioneer Press has found several frustrated restaurant owners.

Mario Gambino, owner of Andreas Pizza in Lowertown, reportedly screamed at the drivers of a cupcake truck parked in front of his restaurant for more than two hours. He says that enforcement of time limits has been lax and that the trucks take away business, take up parking spaces, and the generators make too much noise.

As of June, the Pioneer Press says, 125 food trucks and carts were licensed to operate in St. Paul. St. Paul has more relaxed laws about food trucks than Minneapolis. Trucks can park wherever spots are available, according to city statutes, as long as they pay the meter fee--and don't overstay the time limit.

The trucks do provide revenue for the city: a couple hundred bucks for a license fee, plus a $92 fee to hood five meters for each participant in the food truck court. But those numbers pale in comparison the to property taxes, SAC charges, etc. paid by bricks-and-mortar restaurants.

Do you think food trucks are unfairly taking business away from restaurants, or are there two different groups of customers? When you dine at a food truck, are you downgrading from what would have been a seated lunch, or upgrading from a brown bag?

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