The Times ran a piece yesterday about Berlin’s Grillwalker, the ingenious propane-powered sausage grill that vendors carry like a backpack. Because neither the grill nor the sausages come in contact with the ground, its design allowed Grillwalker’s inventor to bypass the permit requirements for street food vending; his salespeople are allowed to roam at will, courting customers like the Pied Piper or a one-man band. Predictably, there have been some turf wars, but none as fierce as New York’s halal skirmishes; according to one Berlin blog, “[o]ften those in wheelchairs get more business as they play the pity card.”
A Grillwalker unit has already been sold to someone in Nebraska, so presumably, it’s only a matter of time before one shows up in Midtown. Apparently, they’re pretty easy to lease: On the company website’s “Opportunities to exploit the grillwalker” page, interested parties are told they can hire a unit for at least 12 months, at a monthly charge of 400 euros, or about $590, with an 1800 euro ($2,658) security deposit. Which, compared with $54,000 a month, is quite a bargain.