In the interest of nurturing a more vibrant, eclectic and interesting city, city officials ought to come up with new regulations that would allow vendor food trucks to ply their wares on Lincoln streets.
They wouldn't have to work too hard.
Food trucks are mainstays at cities from coast to coast.
There's even a show — "Eat Street" — on the Cooking Channel that aims to find "the very best curbside eats all over North America."
So far, the list includes food trucks like the G'raj Mahal in Austin, Texas, Marination Mobile in Seattle, the Frysmith Truck in Los Angeles and the Feastro Rolling Bistro on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia.
Food truck cuisine includes everything from the dubious Redonkadonk — a burger, fried egg, spam, ham, turkey and bacon between two grilled cheese sandwiches, served by the Brunch Box in Portland, Ore. — to the frog legs in curry, truffle boeuf bourguignon and fois grois torchon on toast from Spencer on the Go in San Francisco.
In Lincoln, the food truck issue is being pushed by Minh Nguyen, who was ticketed last month when his Heoya's Food Truck was ticketed at Centennial Mall and M Street for parking on a public street longer than 10 minutes.
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"We want to bring something new and exciting, kind of hip, to Lincoln," he told the Journal Star.
Nguyen, who owns the truck with his wife, Linda, and friend Yao Hua, sells what he refers to as Asian fusion food, including items such as a Vietnamese steak hoagie and a Korean barbecue taco. The truck has a fryer and charbroiler.
When he was able to cater to the downtown lunch crowd at the convenient Centennial Mall location, Nguyen had started to attract steady customers.
Since the city cracked down on his operation, Nguyen has been forced to arrange parking space on private property outside the immediate downtown area.
Nguyen is using various methods, including a petition drive, to drum up support for revising city ordinances on food trucks. He said he hopes a City Council member will introduce legislation to allow food trucks.
City Council member Jon Camp has questioned whether food trucks would have an unfair competitive advantage over restaurants that pay real estate taxes, but added that he is open to discussion on the issue.
City officials need to loosen up. Judging from experience in other cities, food trucks would bring appealing variety to the gastronomic scene in the Capital City. Let ‘em roll.