Headlines: First Inner Loop Trader Joe’s Opening Friday; Housing Streak Continues

Photo of Hermann Park: elnina999 via Swamplot Flickr Pool

14 Comment

  • re: downtown food truck story.

    So really the only complaint is that downtown restaurants are going to have to lower their prices.

    How many propane tanks on food trucks blow up in a given year?

    Why aren’t food trucks allowed to buy a hopper parking pass and use on-street parking just like everyone else who pays for a space?

    Charge a fee for registration (registration for health & safety reasons) that covers any differential in (taxes – value of public resources used) when compared to fixed restaurants. If they keep the requirement for food trucks to locate on private property then the owners of that private property will be paying the property taxes.

    So again I don’t understand the problem. I guess the politicians are all against it, because the restaurant owners are bigger donors.

  • re: Trader Joes

    Someone educate me a little here, what is the big deal with TJ’s is it a unique selection, prices or ???

  • Nate, it’s a unique selection at pretty good prices (as long as you don’t buy into the organic food nonsense, which like all scams, is expensive).

  • Cool Beans will have to check it out.

  • Organic food is not nonsense, unless you enjoy eating pesticides and extra hormones.

  • Unless you believe in homeopathy, the amount of pesticides you eat on “regular” food is irrelevant.

  • Organic food is a total scam. There is no taste difference in blind tests, there is no nutritional advantage according to FDA. Although there is a slightly higher chance of non-organics having more pesticides, the modern ones are infinitely safer for human consumption then ones from even 10 years ago. You are however several times more likely to get a food borne illness like salmonella from organic produce. On a grand scale, organic products are bad for environment… Inefficient use of land, water, and energy. If all crop on earth was grown organically 25% of Earth’s population would die of starvation.

  • amp – your first point is way off. No one is saying that restaurants have to lower their prices.

    The food trucks already pay plenty of fees to conform to the current set of regulations placed upon them by the city, The current dustup is over the fact that some of the rules and regulations are truly arcane, and discourage rather than foster the notion of a small business owner selling tasty food to hungry people all over the city,

    The propane/safety issue is moot – many restaurants in both the Med Center and downtown use propane for some of their functions, Heck, 100,000 backyard grills are powered by propane here in Houston and I’ve never yet heard about one blowing up. Current rules state that food trucks must be 60 ft from each other if more that two are parked together (also for safety reasons). This makes it more difficult for two or more food trucks to park near an event of any type that would bring them customers.

    The seating issue addresses the misconception that these trucks want a permanent venue. Currently if you want to sit down to eat your meal from a food truck, you have to either get back in your car or walk half a block or more. The trucks just want to be able to put out a couple of tables and chairs (the number of which could certainly be regulated) that they will pick up and take with them when they leave. Private vs. public parking? It seems to me that the food trucks have been most respectful of all public parking regulations, and have worked in harmony with private entities to conform to their rules.

    Do some brick-and-mortar restaurant owners really consider these trucks competitors for their business? What about the nearby (permanent) eateries that also entice their customers? A food truck leaves when the customers do; those other places are still there, every day, rain or shine.

    Bottom line, the eclectic and diverse nature of the food scene that Houston is becoming known for can only be enhanced by the presence of these vehicles. Los Angeles, Austin, Atlanta, Chicago, Portland are just a few of the cities where food trucks can gather and culinary entrepreneurs can flourish unfettered by draconian regulations. This movement is an effort to help more small-business owners increase their profile in a very competitive marketplace.

  • I hate food trucks that don’t have running water and don’t leave their location each night to be cleansed.

    Not talking about the Yuppie Trucks if you know what I mean.

  • miss_msry – They are ALL required to conform to the same regulations, including daily inspections/cleaning at specific locations around the city. There are not enough of these locations, and purveyors sometimes have to wait a long time to pass through to get their approval. Everyone has to have potable water. If you think a food or taco truck isn’t clean, just don’t eat there. Depending on what part of town you’re in, there’s another one on the next corner.

  • Claire de Lune,

    I guess we read different articles, I wrote un-clearly, or your sarcasm meter/reading comprehension is off. It appears you wrote an entire screed to tell me how much agree with each other.

    The only actual* reason given in the article to oppose the new ordinance was by the restaurants. They were worried about competition, which means they think they are going to have to lower their prices. I think that is an argument for allowing the trucks downtown.

    *I don’t believe that Propane tanks become dangerous when put on a parked truck.

  • Restaurants everywhere always worry about their competition — the presence of food trucks is NOT going to force anyone to lower their prices. That’s never the solution.

  • Having lived on the East Coast for a long time, TJs tends to attract a cult-like following. I’m still not sure why. Everyone tries it–why not? But then you either decide that you can find better meat & produce elsewhere or you buy in to the faux alternative scene. Not to say that they don’t have some good stuff (including some primo junk food), but it’s not the be all that some make it out to be.

  • Whether TJ’s is the “be all”/”big deal” etc is subjective. It opens tomorrow. Check it out and decide for yourself versus relying on opinions from random people whose preferences may or may not be in line with your own.