Bar Marco, Dozen, Piccolo Forno, Espresso a Mano, Avenue B, Cure, Legume, Meat and Potatoes, Salt of the Earth and Franktuary. The owners of these brick-and-mortar cafes and restaurants are among 3,000 Pittsburghers supporting a new Pittsburgh City Council measure that could increase the availability of food trucks and other street vendors throughout the city.
"These are brick-and-mortar restaurants who pay property taxes, and they're all signing this petition saying food trucks add to the culinary culture of the city. When you read a lot of the press about what makes Pittsburgh great, it's the food scene," Councilor Daniel Gilman said at a city council meeting this week. "And this is just a piece of that. It supports small business, it supports entrepreneurs, it supports our business districts all at the same time, and in my opinion, without causing any harm."
The ordinance, proposed by Gilman this week, would amend the city code regarding peddlers and vendors. Among the changes are a reduction of the mandated distance between brick-and-mortar businesses and street vendors from 500 feet to 100 feet.
Similar attempts to alleviate restrictions on street vendors
have gone before city council in the past and failed as a result of opposition from brick and mortar restaurants.
But at the Nov. 10 meeting, several business owners, both brick and mortar and street vendors, spoke in favor of the legislation. Among them was Katie Heldstab, co-owner of Leona's Ice Cream Sandwiches, who pointed to the Strip District as an example of brick-and-mortar businesses and street vendors working in harmony.
"If you walk down there on a Saturday, there are pop-up locations up and down that street that are literally blocking the way to brick-and-mortar restaurants, and everyone's packed," Heldstab said. "So [in terms of] restaurant and food density, that's an obvious case study that more is more. And if you look at where we are today in Pittsburgh, that's a huge success story."
The ordinance was held for a public hearing that will be held Dec. 8.