Napa nixes mobile trucks

Mobile food vendors lose Napa permit, moving to Sonoma?

Dim Sum Charlie's

Well, at least the mobile food trucks are, well, mobile. After getting the bum rush from Santa Rosa last month, the popular Food Truck Fridays in Napa are also reportedly on hold.

It’s a surprising move by Napa’s community development crew who seemed to be supportive of the event. The city, however, is now requiring a litany of permits and ADA compliance regulations before letting the event continue. Held on private property near the Oxbow Market, the weekly truck gathering had the buy-in from nearby Oxbow Merchants and seemed to be bringing some new life to the struggling east-side food gulch. On the roster were Napa-based trucks including Dim Sum Charlie’s, Mark’s the Spot and Kara’s Cupcakes along with SoCo’s own Street-Eatz food truck participated in the weekly event. Dim Sum Charlie’s also participated in the nixed Munch Monday in Santa Rosa.

So what happened? Both the Napa Register and Napa Patch are reporting that the city planning director, Rick Tooker, is concerned about fire safety, handicapped accessibility, crowded conditions and alcohol use.

The good news: The trucks are, at least for now, being embraced by Sonoma. Or more specifically, Sebastiani Vineyards, who will host several of the Napa Trucks along with two guest trucks from San Francisco this Friday. More details here. Or here.

And of course, Rohnert Park is still supporting Tasty Tuesdays.

But for how long? The whole hubbub about the trucks has many regular folks scratching their heads. How could something with so much popular support be facing so much push back? It seems many city governments caught by surprise when the truck movement took off, often not having any official operating rules on the record for mobile food vendors. Sensing popular support and the possibility of good exposure for their cities, many looked the other way or worked with the trucks to find temporary permitting.

Now that the movement seems here to stay, brick and mortars and crying foul and city governments are panicking about possible lawsuits if someone gets sick, doesn’t have ADA compliant restrooms, or gets hurt on city property.

With all the red tape being wound around these grassroots events, it seems almost inevitable that the sprout of innovation and populist fun on the food front is going to be crushed out before it truly gets a chance to blossom.

So stay tuned for where the food convoy ends up after the town of Sonoma kicks them out. Because you know its just a matter of time. I hear Graton is nice this time of year.

Want to follow some of the Napa action? Check out the Save the Napa Food Trucks Facebook Page