Last month, we wondered aloud if there was a burgeoning food-truck backlash. In Park Slope, the answer seems to be “why, yes indeed.”
Last month an event inaccurately billed as New York’s first food-truck rally took place on Grand Army Plaza. It was apparently so successful that its organizers now intend to make it a monthly occurrence.
But as The Brooklyn Paper reports, these plans aren’t going over so well with some of Park Slope’s business owners. Well, two of them, specifically. Both Melissa Murphy, the owner of Sweet Melissa Patisserie, and Naidre’s proprietor Janice Pullicio are voicing the oft-heard complaint that food trucks infringe upon their businesses and have an unfair advantage because they don’t pay rent. Murphy contends that “The fact that the community is supporting these non-local vendors is beyond ignorant,” while Pullicio says it’s “beyond infuriating” that the trucks “swoop in out of nowhere and steal away our business in the height of our season.”
The paper dug a predictably cantankerous response out of the Lobster Pound’s Susan Povich, who was previously seen slagging off her lobster-roll competitors. She says that the trucks clean up after themselves, and that they’re not stealing business, but “if we do, maybe they should take it as a sign to change their menus.”
The tension, of course, echoes the brick-and-mortar vs. trucker tiffs that have for so long pervaded Midtown. But now one of Midtown Lunch’s readers is calling for a boycott of the restaurant owners “in an effort to get them to stop calling the cops” on her favorite food trucks.
Most commenters disagree with the suggestion, arguing that a boycott wouldn’t solve anything, and that the only way to effect meaningful change is through the city’s elected officials. “Can’t we just get along … and eat good street food? Nope, we can’t …” concludes one commenter, somewhat poignantly.
But one place everyone can get along, it seems, is weddings. As The Wall Street Journal reports, a lot of trucks are now doing brisk business catering nuptials and other private events, and some are “deriving as much as half of their income” from these off-road engagements. Unsurprisingly, there’s a lot of cash to be found in shilling for corporate brands: The co-owner of the Sweetery truck “can make one day in our promotional truck” what it “could take me two-plus weeks in our regular truck.” Also unsurprisingly, some food-truck owners view such corporate work as a form of prostitution. Either way, at least nobody’s calling the cops.