Rifle hungry for more food trucks | PostIndependent.com

Rifle hungry for more food trucks

Da Beef food truck operating in Rifle in early June.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Rifle’s food truck scene boasts some delicious options.

There’s Da Beef, maker of authentic Chicago Italian Beef sandwiches and hotdogs. The truck operates out of the Choice Liquors parking lot on Rifle’s south side and has pretty much spawned a cult following at this point.

There’s also Salazar Truck, where great tortas are made fresh on a flat-top grill, near City Market on Railroad Avenue.

Recently, the city has received more inquiries about permits from prospective food truck operators like these Rifle institutions. But since the city has a cap of six food truck permits, which are filled, it’s kicking around an idea to adopt new rules.

During a July 20 Rifle City Council workshop, city Planning Director Patrick Waller and city staff presented an idea to possibly increase the number of food truck permits. New rules could also create an entire separate permitting category for nonpermanent food truck operators.

“There are other food truck operators out there,” Waller said.

Rifle City Council Member Sean Strode showed support for increasing the number of permits.

“Especially with the economy where it’s now, I think this is a great way to start a business,” he said.

Food truck regulations in Rifle were last amended in 2016, according to city documents. Per these regulations, food trucks can legally operate only in tourist commercial or community zones. These zones fall primarily on Rifle’s south side and along the north end of Railroad Avenue.

Allowing food trucks only in specific zones is to cut down on nuisance complaints, Waller said.  

Meanwhile, food carts — like hot dog stands — are permitted in the Central Business District, which consists of downtown Rifle. No food-cart permits have been permitted so far this year, however.

The council in 2016 also capped the number of food trucks at six, Rifle City Attorney Jim Neu said.

“It’s so expensive to start a restaurant, and a lot of times the food trucks are a way to get in and build a brand,” he said. “I think there’s different thinking now than there was when we adopted that for consideration.”

Rifle City Council member Brian Condie also showed support for changing food truck regulations. But he wants to get feedback from local existing food vendors on how many more permits the city should allow.

Condie said the city should set a professional standard on what it should allow, to prevent an unmanageable influx of food trucks.

“We don’t want to turn into Tijuana,” he said.

Rifle city staff will look into drawing up plans to potentially allow up to four additional food truck permits and bringing the set proposal before council.

West Garfield County Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or rerku@postindependent.com.

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