Fight for food trucks shifts to Rochester

After skirmishes with businesses in Minneapolis in recent years, food trucks have won the day.

The battle between restaurants and the food trucks has now shifted to Rochester, where they’ve gotten a hostile reception, except by the people who are looking for a halfway decent lunch at a reasonable price.

BB’s Pizzaria food truck is fighting the good fight to bring food trucks to the city, which still bans food trucks on public streets.

It showed up earlier this month after cutting a deal with Calvary Episcopal Church on Third Avenue SW, near Mayo Clinic’s Gonda Building. In exchange for being allowed to park on the private spot — circumventing the city ordinance — BB’s gives the church a portion of their profits and the church donates some of the money to local food shelves and charities, the Rochester Post Bulletin said.

Who wouldn’t like such a deal? Downtown businesses.

So this week, city officials took a tape measure and determined the parking spot — the church’s driveway — is actually public property, the PB said. The truck had to go.

It had to go 10 feet.

“I think’s it going to be good for everybody,” the food truck owner told the newspaper. “It’s kind of a load off our minds.”

While BB’s apparently has found a safe spot to do business downtown, the debate over food trucks on public streets seems to still be unresolved. A group of interested people have organized a Food Truck on July 1 in the parking lot of Kutzky Market at 1005 Sixth St. NW.

The lunchtime event will feature a number of local food trucks cooking for hungry customers. The hope is that in addition to eating, people will gather to talk about this issue. A local urban design group, Charette Happens, plans to facilitate that discussion.

“The Food Truck Summit aims to be the beginning of a much-needed conversation in Rochester about how the city will address food trucks going forward. Despite featuring food trucks, this event takes no concrete position nor agitates for a specific new rules. Instead, it aims to engage all stakeholders with the hope of creating proactive, forward motion,” according to the event’s Facebook page.

“We are disappointed this has turned into a business competition debate vs a simple parking zone regulation,” BB’s Pizzaria Facebook page said last week. “We are confused…when did it become the city’s role to get involved with business competition? What you hear is the sound of our founding fathers rolling over in their graves.”

Or just a city in the process of catching up.