Cafe Society

Will gourmet food trucks grind to a stop in 2011?

If 2010 was the year that gourmet food trucks zoomed into Denver, 2011 will be the year that many get stuck in their tracks. Sean and Denon Moore, who own Cake Crumbs Bakery, put their two Denver Cupcake Trucks in park last month, frustrated by all the roadblocks the city had put in their path; mayoral candidate Chris Romer has posted a petition to get the trucks back on the road at www.romerformayor.com.

And now comes an announcement from Chris "Walt" and Sandy Walter that Walt's Mobile Bistro will be immobilized this month: "The going was tough, particularly because of Denver's city ordinances that kept us from doing business on Denver streets and in some cases even private lots.

"It quickly became obvious that times were going to be tough without Denver's help with street sales...." they continue. "The thing Denver doesn't understand is that there are thousands of Denver employees that only have 30 minutes for their lunch. They couldn't utilize a restaurant if they wanted to. The street trucks and carts offer an excellent opportunity for these employees to get a restaurant quality, health inspected, professional served breakfast, lunch and yes...even dinner. Not to mention service to the late-night crowd. The reason we are sharing our story is, we wanted to reach out to all owners of the food trucks and carts to convey that we feel to get the necessary changes you will need in Denver is to band together...start a mobile-food association to help your industry. It will bring a larger voice to be heard, creditability to your industry, create a code of ethics, institute proper food handling training, achieve possible savings through group business insurance and separate yourself from the view of your industry that my be left over from the past. In closing, we will truly miss our venture, along with all the many friends and customers we have served. We wish only the best to all the mobile food vendors. Keep up the fight! Good luck to you all."

The Denver Department of Public Works is currently working to pull together a one-stop shop for all the rules and regulations from various city agencies that affect mobile food vendors. "It's a priority," says Daelene Mix, communications director for Public Works, noting that the department met on the matter last Friday.

And Josh Wolkon, who was in the vanguard of the new gourmet trucks with the Steuben's Food Service Truck, has also reached out to the city, to "see if there's anything I can do to help communicate," he says. "It seems like people want it to work."

Once that new Public Works advisory is available, we'll post it here.

Follow @CafeWestword on Twitter

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun