In a move officials hope will make the city more hip and attract more young people, Wilmington, Del. this week unveiled three designated food-truck parking spots in its downtown and waterfront sections.
The city previously allowed food trucks only to operate on private property or during special events. Now, the trucks will be able to utilize three parking spaces for a fee to serve their fare on normal days. The food-truck parking pilot program kicked off this week as officials unveiled special signage marking the designated spots.
The food truck parking spots are located on the 400 block of Delaware Avenue by Dupont Plaza, the 500 block of Market Street and the 100 block of French Street. Food truck owners can reserve a spot after completing applications for mobile food service establishment and business licenses, which can be found on the city’s website.
“We’re so stoked that we can get our names out there on the street instead of only festivals and fighting each other for private parking, so we’re excited,” Wit Milburn, who owns Kapow Food Truck and Ubon Restaurant, said.
City officials who pushed for the food-truck measure said they hoped it would not only draw lunchtime crowds out of offices in the city, but also attract younger people to go there to live and work.
“It’s something the younger population and generation are used to,” Councilwoman Hanifa Shabazz, whose district includes the three food-truck spaces, said.
But not everyone is happy with the new business opportunity: Some Wilmington restaurant owners complained that allowing food trucks to operate more in the city will hurt their businesses.
Mike Stanley, who owns Wildwych Cafe and food truck, though, said he sees food trucks as an opportunity to give aspiring restaurant owners an avenue to establishing an eatery.
Stanley said running a food truck only costs a fraction of what it costs to run a restaurant.
“By being able to go that way, you can grow it,” he said.
Milburn agreed. He said he doesn’t think the trucks will compete with restaurants, because restaurants will always offer a wider selection.
“It’s like your hand to your arm,” he said. “That’s all we are.”