Surely you’ve seen the Pink-a-Nator. It’s hard to miss the
Pepto-Bismol pink utility truck with the slogan “Servin’ it up curb
The food truck dishing out specialty burgers, po’boys and other hearty comestibles has had a regular spot at the Annapolis Sunday Market and in a lot near the Fred Meyer shopping center (although not so much lately, since owner Michelle Roberts-Wash has been busy with catering).
Now, Roberts-Wash has her sights set on the Kitsap County Courthouse campus.
She attended last week’s Port Orchard City Council meeting to pitch her plan. The truck would occupy more than one space. The council’s public property committee has discussed the idea, said Councilman Jeff Cartwright, a committee member. The committee suggested a 90-day trial pending feedback from the county.
Meantime, the Kitsap County administrator expressed concerns about loss of parking spots that are already at a premium, according to Port Orchard City Clerk Brandy Rinearson.
Roberts-Wash had scoped out parking spaces on Austin Avenue between the county administration building and public works building. Councilman Rob Putaansuu noted that, at the previous meeting Aug. 12, a city resident had complained that she couldn’t find a place to drop off her ballot.
Other spaces Roberts-Wash had looked at were in front of the courthouse or the Sheriff’s Office.
Councilman Jerry Childs asked if this would set a precedent. What if others came along looking for space to sell their wares?
The public property committee talked about that, Cartwright said. In fact the Pink-a-Nator sparked a wide ranging discussion about food trucks, including Portland’s approach of designating whole blocks to meals on wheels. “Should the city have its own designated food truck zone?” the committee pondered.
“We talked very heavily about the parking versus the convenience of having a food service there,” Cartwright said. “We also talk about would that food service impact other businesses that also serve food.”
A hot dog vendor has a permit to sell in front of the administration building. Inside, Coffee Oasis has an espresso stand that sells food items.
Several council members commented — in the spirit of free enterprise — that competition with other businesses shouldn’t drive their decision.
Putaansuu also suggested the Pink-a-Nator might work in “underutilized” areas including Cline Avenue (the flat part not the mountain climb) and the gravel lot off Taylor Avenue.
Mayor Tim Matthes said South Kitsap County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido “would appreciate more notice and more information than she’s received so far.”
The council agreed to honor Garrido’s request, and Roberts-Wash said she’s fine with that.
So what do you think? If Port Orchard were to designate a food truck zone, where should it be?
And, if you’re a restaurant or cafe owner with a brick-and-mortar location, what are your thoughts on a food truck zone?