CEDARBURG - Since May, residents of Cedarburg have debated whether or not to allow food trucks and other mobile vendors in the downtown historic district.
Local restaurant owners argue that the food trucks are competition with an unfair advantage, while local residents argue that the food options offered by trucks such as YellowBellies and the Blue Cow Creperie provide a much-needed variety.
The city took a step toward settling this debate at the Feb. 13 common council meeting by reviewing a series of regulations that would impose restrictions on food trucks operating in the city. Regulations include operating with an establishment license, setting up outside of the historic district, and remaining at least 100 feet away from other restaurants. Exceptions would be made to scenarios such as private catered events and festivals.
At the Feb. 13 meeting, supporters and opponents of the food trucks voiced their opinions on the matter.
Christian Leonard, owner of Sal's Pizzeria on Washington Avenue, cited a noticeable drop in sales on days when the food trucks were in the area.
"Food trucks on Washington Avenue does not represent the Cedarburg that I grew up in," said Leonard, who felt that the food trucks were not operating with the same level of scrutiny and regulations that brick-and-mortar restaurants have to follow.
Tony Roy, owner of Mr. Tony's BBQ, disagreed with such claims about food trucks. Roy operates his mobile food trailer in Grafton, Port Washington and Fredonia, with licenses and inspections to match the standards of a regular restaurant. With the amount of restrictions on the table for mobile food vendors in Cedarburg, Roy does not feel like he would want to try to serve food there.
"It's amazing to me that the two trucks there now got in at all," said Roy. "It's a shame that people oppose these trucks because there's clearly a demand. Food trucks are not just a fad. It's a growing business that has proven successful across the country."
The common council tabled the discussion for a future as the draft for the resolutions is revised.