By Tia Lynn Ivey
The Madison Mayor and City Council is considering allowing food trucks to set up shop within city limits. Ben Crowe, owner of Crowe’s BBQ has requested the council change the city’s ordinance to allow for food trucks.
“I am writing this letter in hopes that I can change the ‘No Food Truck Policy’ in the City of Madison,” wrote Crowe to the council. “I also want to collaborate with you to create rules and regulations for the presence of food trucks within the city limits. In the following pages, I hope to present information and the history of my restaurant and our goals in serving the Madison community. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.”
In the past, city officials worried about allowing food trucks for fear that out-of-town food trucks would come into the city and take business away from established local restaurants.
But Crowe’s BBQ is an established Madison restaurant looking to expand its business.
“One of the concerns was if we are having food trucks coming in from out-of-town taking business from our existing restaurants,” said Councilman Rick Blanton.
“But I have seen other cities do this and it is a big draw. I think it’s something we should look into.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Councilwoman Carrie Peters-Reid, who has suggested food truck events in the past.
“Food trucks get very creative with their food and I like that,” said Councilwoman Chris Hodges.
Crowe’s BBQ is asking to be allowed to open its food truck once a week on Friday evenings. Eventually Crowe would like to coordinate a reoccurring event with other food trucks and have a “Food Truck Friday” event, modeled after Monroe’s food truck event.
“Our ultimate goal is to create a food truck event where multiple food trucks from the surrounding areas come to to Madison,” wrote Crowe, noting food truck events are popular and bring in large crowds, which potentially boost other businesses in Madison.
“I would love to see the City of Madison grow through this potential endeavor,” wrote Crowe.
The city plans to discuss the issue further before making a decision.
Councilman Joe DiLetto suggested including the local restaurant owners in the discussion.
“We should invite the local restauranteurs in to discuss this,” said DiLetto, who noted many would be against allowing food trucks inside the city limits. “I don’t think their concern are that legitimate, but they do have concerns and they should be heard.”
“It’s competition,” noted City Attorney Jim Carter as the reason why local restaurants would be against food trucks.
Mayor Fred Perriman instructed city staff to gather more information about the possibility of allowing food trucks and what kind of conditions the city should enact if the trucks were allowed to operate.
“Look into this and come to us about it,” said Perriman.