The City of Dallas started allowing “gourmet food trucks” in early to mid 2011 when there were about five on the road. They were not allowed to operate in the Central Business District. There were still lots of regulations, but the City, the Arts District, and the CBD worked through the details and, since then, food trucks have been an integral part of the thriving Arts District area.
Now, let’s contrast three of the suburbs: Carrollton, Keller, and Denton.
Over a year ago, in or around May 2011, I heard some rumors that Carrollton would start allowing food trucks in their new DART transit stop. That turned out to be a stretch. They were actually considering allowing smaller food carts. I poked around and found a city council video (skip to 15 minutes), where one council member says: “Carrollton is not Chicago or Detroit. We are more progressive. This is 2011, we go to Chipotle, places like that.” The ordinance to allow food carts in the transit zone did finally pass 5-2. Carrollton does allow gourmet food trucks, but few go there unless it is for a private event.
Let’s look at Keller. They allow food trucks. So-Cal Tacos frequents the area often. But in July 2012, they shot down a proposed Keller Food Truck park by a vote of 4-3 because they felt it was competitive with nearby brick-and-mortar restaurants. According to So-Cal’s Scott Wooley, two of the no votes have expressed interest in seeing another opportunity at bringing a food park to Keller.
Now, let’s dissect Denton. In March 2012, Denton Councilman Kevin Roden posted a possible ordinance change to allow gourmet food trucks in Denton. Before there were onerous regulations, so hot food trucks were basically only visible on the college campus. Now, a few months later, Denton has changed the ordinance and will host their first Food Truck Festival, “Denton Foodie Truck Festival: Friday Night Bites” tonight from 5pm to 10pm in the downtown Denton transit center. Participating food trucks include: The Butcher’s Son, Crazy Fish, Cup Cakin’ Machine, Gandolfo’s NY Deli, The Pickled Carrot, Rock N’ Roll Tacos, Rockstar, Shitake Swerve, Three Lions, and Bombay Chopstix.
Go. Denton. Go.