Food Truckers Form Alliance To Fight Possible Sunrise Ban
|Friar Tuck's owner will be at the Sunrise meeting.|
The meeting, held at Sunrise City Hall (10770 West Oakland Park Boulevard, Sunrise), held today, January 8 at 6 p.m., might just be a little more spirited than the typical monthly discussion of issues.
That's because about 40 food truck owners and roundup organizers are expected to attend in a show of solidarity. The truckers have formed the Food Truck Alliance of South Florida, a grassroots group whose first mission is to defeat the proposed ban on food trucks in Sunrise.
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According to Robb Muise, owner of Friar Tuck's food truck and a spokesperson for the group, about 75 food truck owners in south Florida have joined the alliance including B.C. Tacos, HipPops, Joji Yogurt, Mojo on the Go, Crazydilla, and Munchcakes.
The alliance was formed after December's Commission meeting, which was adjourned early. Though the official meeting lasted only about two minutes, several food truck owners in attendance decided to meet for coffee. It was then that they discussed banding together to fight the potential ban. Through email and social media, the group grew as food truck owners decided that, with their livelihoods at stake, there was strength in numbers.
Muise told Clean Plate Charlie that the alliance is just that. "We do things by general consensus, but I have some political activism experience, so myself and a few other owners are taking the reins."
Tomorrow's Sunrise Commission meeting will see members grouping together, many with the hopes of getting three minutes in which to voice their opinions. It's the first step in a potential city-wide ban of food trucks. After this, a vote to ban food trucks could be placed on the agenda of a future meeting. Muise plans to speak, with the hopes of directly addressing Commissioner Joey Scuotto, who owns a pizzeria in Sunrise. Scuotto is against food trucks rolling in Sunrise, having told The Sun-Sentinel back in November, "Why would I want to allow a rolling restaurant in my city when we have restaurants here already that struggle every day?" Muise wants to ask the Comissioner to prove to the citizens of Sunrise that owning a restaurant does not make him biased against the mobile eateries.
Even though Sunrise is just one city in the vast south Florida terrain, a food truck ban could possibly start a chain-reaction. Muise is concerned that, "if they ban trucks in Sunrise, maybe Margate is next. All it takes is one town to have an issue, and we don't want that."
Muise said that even though the work is hard, he and his fellow truckers are living the American dream of owning a small business. "There are two critical things that tie all of us together. We're filled with passion and we have a shared sacrifice. This year, I actually became a job creator. I hired an 18 year-old young man who's starting college with his earnings."
Muise is asking food truck fans, Sunrise residents, and anyone who "doesn't want government to regulate free enterprise" to attend tomorrow's meeting or follow the alliance's progress on friartucks.me or sflfoodtrucks.org.
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