Free the Food Trucks!

In the Boston Globe, Edward L. Glaeser, a professor of economics at Harvard University and director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, asks himself, “Why do food trucks matter?” and answers his own question:

“Cities work economic magic and entertain their citizens by connecting smart people, helping them to learn from one another and to innovate….Food trucks are a natural part of the innovative culinary process…Preserving the monopoly power of local eateries is a terrible reason to restrict food trucks.”

Subsitute the word “Atlanta” for the word “Boston, and you have it in a nutshell:

“As in many other areas, a one-stop permitting process that aims at providing speedy approval seems like a step forward. While I admire the Food Truck Challenge in City Hall Plaza to bring food trucks to scale, we should give up on micro-managing the location of every food truck. Instead, public spaces should be rented to food trucks, so the space will go to the truck that values it most. Food trucks can improve Boston’s streets and Boston’s palates ­ they just need to be free to do so.”

(photo of Mayor Thomas Menino from the Boston Globe)

A Big Day for Street Food

Yesterday, Councilman Kwanza Hall of District 2 invited the Atlanta Street Food Coalition to City Hall to spark an interest with the other members on the City Council and honor pioneers such as the Yumbii truck, the King of Pops, and other attendees.

Proclamations were read, popsicles were shared, and sincere thanks went to the Councilman, who briefly alluded to the current statute of street food (“not quite legal at the moment”) and has vowed to introduce new legislation to help vendors over the hurdles.

Look at all the happy faces of the honorees!

Achtung!

Curry wurst by the royal residence for the Electors and Kings of Saxony in Dresden? Pretzels by the Reichstag in Berlin?

History and street food complement one another in Germany. Alas, we didn’t run into the guys who wear portable grills shaped like aprons and cook sausages while walking on the sidewalk (we looked) but we saw plenty that Atlanta should emulate during a ten-day blitz trip around Deutschland.

Air Tran Loves Street Food

If you fly Air Tran in August, reach into the pocket in front of you and grab a print copy of this article on Atlanta’s street food written by Stephanie Davis Smith.

Compatriots

Jennifer and John Maley, who live in Ansley Park and run the Atlanta food blog Food We’ve Eaten, linked us last week in a blog post on street food. John writes,

Personally, I think there’s something really appealing to being able to walk down the street and pick up a hot dog, or a burro pollo, and enjoy it al fresco. There’s none of the experiential overhead of a restaurant to deal with  (waiters, counters, decor, elevator music, etc.). It’s just about the food. Plus, when everyone is forced to improvise seating, you end up a little more connected to the people around you, even if you don’t necessarily talk to them.

We agree!