Traverse City Record-Eagle

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May 17, 2013

No food truck buffet rolled out on first day

TRAVERSE CITY — Diners who hankered for food truck fare on the first day the mobile restaurants were allowed downtown came away hungry.

Only one food truck operator, Roaming Harvest, applied for a city permit by Thursday, the first day food trucks were allowed in public spaces under the city’s new mobile food vendor ordinance.

The city expects to issue Roaming Harvest’s permit today, city Clerk Benjamin Marentette said. Permit applications take about a week to process and cost vendors $1,225 to park on public property or $725 for private property.

Simon Joseph, owner of Roaming Harvest, couldn’t say when he expected to start working downtown.

“There’s a lot more to the running of it than just plopping down somewhere,” Joseph said. “We’ll be downtown as soon as I can get the whole thing figured out.”

Joseph, who often set up on a private lot on Eighth Street under the city’s old permit structure, said he normally takes Thursday off, so not having his permit didn’t matter. He’ll likely be back at Eighth Street on Friday if he gets his permit in time.

Gary Jonas, owner of Little Fleet on East Front Street in the former Jack’s Market, said he may have a food truck in his parking lot as early as next week, once the vendor gets a permit. Eventually Jonas, whose bar won’t serve food, will have the infrastructure to accommodate up to five food vendors in his lot.

Jonas hosted a private gathering of friends and family Wednesday night, putting to use his finished building while he awaits final state approval for his liquor license.

“But there were no food trucks here,” Jonas said.

Jonas said he’s been told by state officials the liquor license he expected on May 1 will take about another week to process.

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