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Akron | Food trucks look for a place downtown

6:09 PM, Jun 25, 2013   |    comments
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AKRON -- Food trucks are popping up in cities all over the country and as the trend grows, so does the friction.

Akron is the latest place for the food truck debate. It's truck operators against brick and mortar restaurants, and city leaders are mediating, looking for some common ground.

The lunch rush in downtown Akron has lots of choices for workers looking for a bite. What's not on the menu? Food trucks.

It's almost a 30-year-old law on the books that prevents anybody from selling anything of value from a vehicle.

Jeff Winer co-owns "The Orange Truk" food truck. He and his crew frequent Western Summit County -- Fairlawn, Copley, Bath, Norton and Richfield.

The Orange Truk Facebook page

They offer their cuisine to office workers who may have limited time for lunch. Food trucks targeting Akron have some restaurant owners worried.

Suzie Graham is with Downtown Akron Partnership. "Sometimes, although it's exciting and fun, that vibrant food truck operation can be an immediate threat to brick and mortar restaurants," Graham said.

Winer says his customers are different than customers going to a sit-down establishment, citing Cleveland's food truck success.

Winer says "Come up to Walnut and 12th in downtown Cleveland on a Wednesday and see all of the people that come out to the street to eat off the trucks and then look at all the restaurants within a block, block and a half and see how busy they are."

Downtown Akron Partnership is open to food trucks, with some protections.

They are looking for ways and areas and zones where they can create a balance and have all the vibrancy and excitement of introducing these trendy food trucks to Akron, as well as maintaining or brick and mortar reataurant businesses.

Akron City Council is forming a committee of city leaders, representatives from food trucks and downtown restaurants, hoping to forge a path to compromise.

WKYC-TV

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