OMG! A Rice Village Food Truck Clampdown

OMG! A RICE VILLAGE FOOD TRUCK CLAMPDOWN After receiving complaints from restaurant owners and residents, police have launched an inspection sweep of food trucks in the Rice Village area, an HPD spokesperson tells reporter Terrence McCoy. At least 50 citations for various violations were issued in the last month, and the campaign is scheduled to continue for another month. Recipient of 4 of those inspections: Korean barbecue and taco vendor Oh My Gogi!, which typically parks outside Brian O’Neill’s on Morningside Dr. on weekends. Manager Daniel Davenport says police walked away without giving him a citation last Friday night, but on a previous weekend the truck chalked up 3 infractions for having business permits on hand, but not displaying them in open sight. [Hair Balls] Photo: Houston Food Crawl

29 Comment

  • Posters usually complain about evil developers just running over the city. Now they will complain about evil restaurant owners killing to food truck fad.

    Houston is place of a lot of eateries from simple taquerias to the highest end sushi or steakhouse. It makes sense they would get a little defensive over these renegade (in there minds) food trucks.

  • Some restaurants also own food trucks though. Sylvias enchiladas, Berryhill, even Koagie hots is owned by a long time restauranteur. HPD is apparently lacking anything better to do in Rice Village; than harass food trucks specifically Gogi..

  • But let’s face it, restauranteurs were complaining about competition, not code enforcement.

  • This is tantamount to Central Market complaining that the Walgreen’s across the street sells sandwiches and cookies. Do you really think someone who is planning on going to Cafe Rabelais or D’Amico’s is going to change their mind and get a taco from a truck on the street? Competition opens up pricepoints and gives people a choice. Get over it.

  • Can’t we all just get along??? :)

  • Sorry, food trucks are usually just nasty.

  • John has it right, this just seems like harassment of otherwise perfectly legal enterprises. if you have issues with the trucks and unfair taxation you take it to the city and do it through policy, not harassment.

    the sad thing is, this is just what we would all expect from this part of town. pulling strings to get your way rather than going through the city to make an agreeable solution for all.

  • miss_msry – please dont confuse trucks like Oh Mi Gogi with the shaggy little roach-coaches that skirt the city and don’t conform with even the basic city codes. The current crop of food trucks that are the target of someone’s sergeant are law-abiding, permit holding entrepreneurs that sell all kinds of unusual and delicious food to people who want something more interesting than a burger and fries. They do their best to follow the arcane rules currently in place. Their profile has been raised ever since they’ve been addressing city council in an attempt to modify the out-of-date regulations currently in place. Its going to be an interesting food fight.

  • “the highest end sushi?” Where?

  • “…There are just so many rules that we don’t know about and they could keep writing citations forever.” While HPD may be out of line in this instance, this comment is illustrative of business owner/manager who is in over his head. Awareness of laws and regulations is a prerequisite to starting a business – any business.

  • Food trucks are for hippies anyway.

    It’s a hipster trend and it will be gone in 2 years.

    No one wants to eat food out of some motor home converted into a restaurant.

  • Not saying what the police are/were doing is right (this is an extremely slippery slope)…but this is what you get when you bully the City of Houston into changing the rules as soon as possible. Like a kid in a candy store stomping his feet because he’s not getting the candy fast enough, now they’re facing punishment for their behavior. Also not a smart idea to have their friends in the press (Houston press MAINLY, Eater, CultureMap, and 29-95) openly insult members of city council.

    Bottom line – The majority of these food truck owners are arrogant and have this sense of entitlement that they are doing the city of Houston a favor. Had they used their brains a little and lost the hipster cockiness, they’d have a WHOLE army singing their praises.
    Perfect example of these guys lack of intelligence – The owner of Gogi waited 4 weeks to tweet his city councilman! 4 weeks!

  • Joey A.,

    Oh dear me, poor politicians actually having to listen to some of their constituents.

    “but this is what you get when you bully the City of Houston into changing the rules as soon as possible.”

    “After receiving complaints from restaurant owners and”

    Unless your rich or relatively politically connected. Then you can get the city to bully your competitors.

  • apparently Hmm didn’t see the lines at the food truck festival.

  • The Roach Coach fad…

  • Fad? Hipsters? Have a hotdog from good dog (oft at Buchanan’s in the Heights) and then say that please; have a feeling that might change your mind. And the whole roach coach argument is also a painfully dated notion, this isn’t a construction site.

  • “the truck chalked up 3 infractions for having business permits on hand, but not displaying them in open sight.”
    That makes me sick.
    And Walt… “this comment is illustrative of business owner/manager who is in over his head. Awareness of laws and regulations is a prerequisite to starting a business – any business.
    No. Its the job of a business to provide a valuable product to his customers. Dealing with the mounds of ever changing government regulations is a necessary evil. I’d rather my food truck guy know how to make a good taco at a good price than be up to date on every new stupid rule our overloads in government throw down at us.
    We run some apartments around the Montrose area and it seems like every day there is some new rule governing how we’re supposed to provide our product to our tenants(customers). So much of our time, money, and effort is spent spinning our wheels to satisfy the city when that same time, money and effort could be spent providing a better product.

  • @miss_msry: Plenty of restaurants are just nasty as well. Sweeping generalizations like yours really don’t mean much. There are bad and good examples regardless of whether the eatery is in a building or in a truck.

    @Hmm: Hippies or hipsters? They’re not the same thing just because they both contain the letters “hip”.

  • If your worried about the cleanliness of one of these foodtrucks, don’t dare take a step into a brick and mortar restaurant. Joey A sounds like he is endorsing the city and council being vengeful… that doesn’t sound like the kind of people I want in charge. BTW, they insulted members of the council because they were being REDICULOUS, did you even hear what Burke was saying… food trucks downtown = terrorist threat… who wouldn’t make fun of that clown?

  • Melanie, it is not the same as Walgreens complaining about CVS. Retailers, when they sign commercial leases with developers such as Weingarten (as in Rice Village’s case) often have something akin to a non-compete clause that the same development will not contain a direct competitor (Walgreens next door to CVS) These food trucks, as yummy as they may be, do directly compete with any restaurants in the area. An overly lubricated Patron of Baker Street may very well be on the way into the Sushi restaurant to satisfy his hunger and then stumble upon a food truck. Shazam! Kubo’s just lost a $100 tab. It is an interesting debate on going in the Houston area.

  • Businesses don’t own their clients’ business, Nearby. It’s not a debate, it’s a fundamental requirement of a free society.

  • You would think they were trying to build a highrise or something…

  • @Nearby: Restrictive covenants are agreements between the landlord and the tenant regarding the confines of the leasehold. If the food truck pulled into the parking lot and started serving, the landlord would be obligated to give them the boot if there was a restrictive covenant. But, food trucks operating legally on the street are well beyond the reach of the restrictive covenants. Using the scarce resources of law enforcement to try to create a restrictive covenant that does not exist is just flat out wrong. The food trucks are operating legally save and except easily cured violations of obscure ordinances that would earn any other business owner in the city nothing more than a friendly warning. The brick and mortar restaurants do not like the fact that the food trucks are able to create meals that are often more creative and interesting than the overpriced fare served up in Rice Village and Downtown. In a city of red blooded capitalists who readily shout down anyone daring to assert community quality of life over the whims of a developer, it is amazing that anyone would come to the defense of the blatantly anti-competitive restaurant industry in the food truck fight.

  • can we please get another post by that super angry guy that owned a food truck and claimed to have studied in New York, Paris, etc. every time he posted i envisioned this guy with smoke coming out of his head and eyes popping out because he was so darn angry. i always got a good chuckle.

  • Old School, well said.

  • @Nearby. Oh I see… the fact that Rice Village contains Brown Bag Deli, Jason’s Deli, Jersey Mikes, Kahn’s Deli and Texasdelphia Sandwich shop all serving sandwiches and competing against one another
    means it is not okay for a food truck to compete also?

  • I’m just having trouble trying to imagine being drunk enough to want to spend $100 on sushi!

  • Cody – I think you’ve confused a business’ job with the prerequisites for starting a business. Yes, the job of a business is to serve its customers, but if you don’t know the regulatory environment, you are in for a world of hurt. For an extreme example, if I have the great idea of opening a marijuana dispensary in Texas, and I don’t check to see if that’s legal, I’m gonna have a rude awakening. As you said, dealing with regulation is a necessary evil, and I agree with you on that, but it sounds like this food truck owner isn’t dealing with the necessary evils. What other necessary evils might he not be dealing with?

  • Interesting developments, but hearing about it just ain’t as exciting now that Marvin Zindler is gone…