Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mobile-food court likely for downtown

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Behind Downtown Burrito Co. owner Zack Travis sits the space that could house up to nine or so mobile food vendors.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Behind Downtown Burrito Co. owner Zack Travis sits the space that could house up to nine or so mobile food vendors.

A team of locals appears close to establishing something long seen as lacking: a central place in Colorado Springs for mobile food vendors to gather and support each other, and for customers to grub down together.

According to documents obtained by the Indy, the arrangement would probably be called Curbside Cuisine. Sandra Vanderstoep, of Garden of the Gods Gourmet catering, says the involved organizations would include Jammin' Cabana, Chicago Pizza, El Padrino (a northern Mexican restaurant, and sibling to the Bean Bandit), Bundt App├ętit, Bite Me Sausage, the Downtown Burrito Co. (meet the new bahn mi creation), the Springs Cupcake Truck, Island Style BBQ and the Crepe Crusaders.

In a story last year on the food-truck movement, Downtown Partnership president Ron Butlin said he was concerned about bringing mobile outfits downtown because they don't pay into the Business Improvement District, as well as other various taxes, that surrounding brick-and-mortar vendors do.

"I just don't yet know, or understand, how it might work in our town," Butlin said at the time. "I'm looking at the idea of maybe a food truck area; maybe there's an area around Acacia Park where the trucks can park, and that's the approved location, and I think that'd be awesome. We just need it to be balanced and fair."

Mobiles have also run into problems because they're not allowed to park in metered parking spaces, or stay in one location very long.

"And where are the meters?" said Mike Bergman, co-owner of the Springs Cupcake Truck, in our story. "They're at the core."

In a conversation this morning with the Indy's Matthew Schniper, Vanderstoep said the idea has only come together within the last two months, and is moving quickly because the gathering would be on private land. The parking lot is on North Tejon Street, just north of 7-Eleven, and owned by powerful builder Chris Jenkins of Nor'wood Development Group. Potentially, the carts and trailers would be there on a semi-permanent basis and would serve year-round.

"Yes, this is going fast and very well ... glad to have you on board as we get ready to launch," Vanderstoep wrote in an e-mail to those involved, which included Jenkins; architecture and engineering firms EV Studio, Tremmel Design Group and HB&A; and marketing company Vladimir Jones.

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