Thursday, July 19, 2012

Food truck rally next Tuesday

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 3:07 PM

The Empanada Intifada food truck in action.

Fans of local food trucks have grown adept at using social media to track their roaming ways for a quick lunch or a late-night snack. Next week, however, it will be easy for anyone to find a cluster of food trucks and other street food vendors, which will be clustered to serve dinner and make a point.

On the evening of Tuesday, July 24, at least five vendors will gather at the Ashe Cultural Arts Center (1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., serving food as part of the Food Truck Rally and Symposium.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is intended to shed some light on what food truck boosters characterize as the obsolete, unwieldy and anti-competitive regulations that hold back their development around the city.

Experts on the food truck trend from New Orleans and around the country will lead a discussion on how to improve the mobile food industry here and the benefits trucks can provide beyond street food. Good Work Network, a Central City-based nonprofit that helps people start their own businesses, will be on hand to help advise local food entrepreneurs interested in getting started.

The rally is organized by the New Orleans Food Truck Coalition, working in collaboration with a broad range of partners interested in reforming food truck regulation. A number of these organizations are based on O.C. Haley Boulevard, and that’s no coincidence.

“That’s one of the areas we’re looking at for food trucks,” explains Rachel Billow, president of the New Orleans Food Truck Coalition and operator of the South American-style food truck La Cocinita. “We want to open up the CBD (to food truck business), but we’re also looking at areas like O.C. Haley to create food truck lots, to increase foot traffic and get more attention to them, basically to take empty lots and reclaim these outdoor spaces as positive spaces.”

Vendors signed up to serve at the rally as of this writing include the trucks Taceaux Loceaux, La Cocinita, Empanada Intifada and Rue Chow along with Linda Green, aka “the Yakamein Lady,” who is a mainstay at second lines and a Jazz Fest vendor.

“We’ll have food trucks serving at the event so we can say ‘here are the issues and look, here’s how good our food is,’” says Billow. “Hopefully the whole thing will turn into a discussion. We’ve invited City Council members and we hope people who don’t support food trucks will be there too to hear our point of view.”

The event is free and vendors will be selling their food. Find more details here.

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