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food carts/trailers coming to town?

JimGrinsfelder Apr 17, 2010 08:02 AM

I heard that Minneapolis is licensing more food carts....


I'm writing this from my hotel room in Portland OR, and let me tell you, if it winds up like Portland (400+ food carts/trailers around the city), it's a great thing for Minneapolis. There are amazing food trailers in Portland, there are a couple of parking lots downtown that have leased space to 10-20 trailers creating open-air food courts. There are similar clusters in neighborhoods throughout town. There are trucks, trailers and shanty's. Some move about and you have to follow them on twitter to find them. Korean tacos (kalbi, bulgogi, spicy tofu in handmade tortillas) at Koi Fusion are amazing.

If we're lucky, it'll wind up like this:


  1. g
    GutGrease Apr 29, 2010 09:38 AM

    On my first and only trip to New York City, I starved myself beforehand and then roamed around, eating street pizza, hotdogs from carts, and anything else that was non-Midwest. It was food heaven and I'm excited to have some options in our town.

    1 Reply
    1. re: GutGrease
      JimGrinsfelder Apr 30, 2010 05:32 AM

      1. GutGrease, you need to start fasting and head out to Portland OR. In terms of street food on a per-capita basis, Portland puts NYC to shame with the variety and quality.

      2. Dale, Se Salt (love it or hate it) makes a go of it seasonally. Portland is not a nice place outdoors for much of the winter, but it's still nicer than MN.

      3. BigE, current Mpls rules could be seen as: restaurant owners lobbying to use government regulation as an anti-competitive weapon. Portland restaurants get really pissed off by food carts/trailers/rv's because they feel the mobile vendors have lower overhead. IMO, you're either a free market capitalist (food cart vendor) or you're not (a restaurant owner who wants government to protect his business from competition).

    2. AnneInMpls Apr 28, 2010 01:19 PM

      Portland is truly Food Cart Heaven! Unfortunately, I doubt that Minneapolis will get anything that good, given the limit on licenses and the preference for established (aka chain) businesses. In Portland, it seems like food carts are the way for newcomers to break into the restaurant scene. I hope it can will the same here someday. Perhaps if we keep up the pressure on our legislators...


      2 Replies
      1. re: AnneInMpls
        dalewest Apr 28, 2010 06:36 PM

        Of course climate is against us too. The folks in Portland are already eating some greens from their gardens while we are wondering if we should jump the gun and plant early due to the crazy warm spring. I would think the food cart business is viable at least 10 months of the year in Portland. In MSP it would probably be more like 6 to 8.

        1. re: AnneInMpls
          BigE Apr 29, 2010 06:43 AM

          While I agree that the current rules are puzzling, we need to start somewhere.

          Hopefully things will soften up to the point that folks that don't have brick and mortar locations can run their own cart.

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