Tonawanda News — The new trend in quick eating has made its way into Tonawanda after the council approved food trucks to operate in public areas earlier this year, but the mobile vendors still aren’t satisfied with the city’s restrictions.
“We still are going to look to have the best regulations possible, but we at least have something to go by for this summer,” Pete Cimino, co-owner of Lloyd Taco Truck, said.
After last year’s policy expired in January, the council began discussing implementing a resolution that would institute a $250 annual fee and a 100-foot radius from the nearest brick and mortar restaurant. Cimino and Western New York Food Truck Association attorney Mitchell Stenger were both relatively happy with that proposal, but the council put off approving the measure to discuss the issue with Frank Berrafato, the owner of seasonal restaurants Mississippi Mudds and Old Man River on Niagara Street.
Berrafato then told the council that ideally, he wouldn’t want food trucks in the city at all, and argued for the radius requirement to be increased.
“I think that needs to be pushed back, so we can have our space,” Berrafato said at a meeting in March. “Let’s protect the business owners who pay taxes, let’s protect the people who employ the students of this community.”
The council then revised its proposed resolution, changing the 100-foot radius to 150 feet and prohibiting the trucks from entering Niawanda Park at the Kohler Street entrance, which is located across the street from Mississippi Mudds.
Although some residents said the council should look out for Berrafato — whose business has been in the city for decades — Cimino and Stenger argued that the council was unfairly favoring one business over another.
“The biggest hinderance is that they are not holding one business by the same standard that they are holding another one to,” Cimino said.