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A Moveable Feast


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In the city of Boulder, however, it’s not so easy. Notoriously cautious about the way food trucks are allowed to operate, the city requires the vehicles to be at least 150 feet from an existing restaurant or a residence, a restriction that “rules out most of downtown,” says Lindsey Mandel of the RollinGreens food truck.

“We go to business parks and serve the people who are working out there, but we really wanted to reach the masses, and by being on the outskirts of Boulder we aren’t able to do that,” Mandel says. “After years of trying to find places where we can actually go, it just wasn’t working. So we have really built our business on catering. About 90 percent of our business is personal and private events.”

Mandel and her business partner, chef Ryan Cunningham, have gotten creative in other ways too, building a special cart they use to serve customers every Wednesday and Saturday at the Boulder Farmers Market and inking a deal to sell frozen versions of their burgers and appetizers in food stores.

But things are looking up for Boulder food trucks. Last year the city rolled out a pilot program to allow a small number of trucks in city-owned parks, a program that will continue this year. And in April, the Boulder City Council gave initial approval to new regulations that would allow more mobile food trucks to operate on private property downtown. In late May, a second city council meeting heard from food truck operators who want the opportunity to set up downtown late night—when existing restaurants aren’t as likely to be affected—and to hold the occasional food truck rally in the farmers’ market site on 13th Street between Arapahoe Avenue and Canyon Boulevard.

“We understand the businesses that pay a lot of rent to have space down there and their argument, but I think if we did it every now and then, or we do the off hours, food trucks would add a lot to the vibrancy of Boulder and downtown,” says Michael Sethney, co-owner of the Verde and Cheese Louise trucks.

In the meantime, food trucks still are roaming the streets of Boulder County—customers just have to look a little harder to find them. The best way is online, as each truck has a website, Facebook page and Twitter handle that lets fans know where to find them, whether it’s a brewery in Gunbarrel, a street fair in Erie or a dog park in east Boulder.
And what’s better on a summer day than some al fresco dining in the company of like-minded food lovers?

“The food truck community is pretty amazing,” Mandel says. “It’s really just about community, and we love being out there and getting to talk to customers every day. You get instant gratification, you hear how much people are loving it, and it’s really cool. Just being able to change it up — different menu, different location —you’re not doing the same thing every day.”

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