Fight escalates between food trucks and restaurants

Marco Villarreal

Fight escalates between food trucks and restaurants

CREATED Sep. 5, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- The fight is escalating over how close to restaurants food trucks should be allowed to park in Las Vegas.

Some restaurant owners are upset that some food trucks are parking too close to their business and stealing customers. But those food truck owners say it's their right as small businesses to park where they please. City council members are caught in the middle.

"Right now we have trucks parking ten feet from the restaurant," says Pablo Silva, the owner of El Gaucho Luca's Cafe.

Restaurant owners are upset over the failure of city council to approve an ordinance that would designate the distance food trucks are allowed to be from their establishments.

"From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. we have all the food trucks parked next to our restaurant taking our business," says Silva. "They don't have bathrooms. We have to provide our own bathrooms. Sometimes for customers of the lunch trucks."

Food truck owners also showed up in full force arguing such a decision would hinder the small business community in which they belong. 

"It should be 0 feet. We don't compete. In fact I could have ten trucks in front of my "brick and mortar," it would only help my business. We don't serve the same people," says Robert Wilkinson, owner of food truck Sin City Wings. 

At the city council meeting Wednesday, the mayor and council members contemplated passing a motion that would make the distance 150, 300, and even more than 1300 feet. After three attempts to resolve the issue, the matter was tabled, meaning if a council member wants to tweak it and try again at the next meeting they can...or it dies after 60 days.

"Some of the things that was being asked for the council members to vote on is ludicrous as far as feet wise. I think that because of that it was all nixed," says Wilkinson.

"As you saw the map up there 150 feet keeps us completely out of downtown main streets," says Tommy Dennis who owns the food truck Redneck Kitchen.

While food truck owners are pleased with the stalemate, restaurant owners are thinking of taking a different action.

"A lot of the restaurants we are talking between us, maybe give this to a lawyer and between all of us, get a lawyer and get it solved that way," says Silva.

There was talk at the meeting of possibly tweaking the distance to something different than what was mentioned in the city council meeting, but at this point neither side can agree. City leaders seemed frustrated saying they do not have to do anything, but were hoping to mediate something between the two groups.