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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Food truck throws down Light up Night challenge (sort of)

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Pittsburgh Councilor Bill Peduto's proposal to change the laws governing the city's food trucks, introduced to the city council in October, is still in committee, awaiting a date to be set for a public hearing.

Staff for the councilor says the revisions to the mobile vending ordinance are unlikely to be a priority until the council is through considering the mayor's budget. In the meantime, community organizers are continuing to drum up support for the cause. An entertaining read, this "press release" by Franktuary co-owner Tim Tobitsch arrived in my inbox this week:

Franktuary Food Truck Flagrantly Violates City Vending Code

In a brazen attempt to steal business from a brick-and-mortar restaurant selling a similar product, the Franktuary food truck will be setting up shop directly outside its own storefront during downtown Pittsburgh's Light Up Night celebration.

Normally not open in the evening, Franktuary's storefront has made special arrangements to be open from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm this Friday, raising questions as to whether it is doing so just to call out its food truck's unlawful presence.

Pittsburgh's mobile vending code clearly states that, "No permitted location shall be used by a vendor selling an item like or similar to the primary items sold by another non-vendor business within five hundred (500) feet of the permitted location."

When reached for comment, the management of Franktuary stated that they were shocked by the development since "perhaps no two food outlets in the city offer a more similar menu." Co-owner Tim Tobitsch went on to say that he has "no idea whether the storefront or truck decided to operate on Oliver Avenue first." His business partner, Megan Lindsey, added, "We hope the evening can end peacefully, with customers enjoying the spirit of the season."

To help resolve this matter, Light Up Night attendees are asked to stop by Oliver Avenue and decide for themselves from where they would like to obtain their food.

Staff at Peduto's office say they are continuing to circulate petitions, particularly to brick and mortar restaurants who are supportive of the proposed changes. I have yet to hear of anyone or any group opposing the ideas. (But if you have, please let me know.)

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