Petition urges Grand Prairie to ease restrictions on food trucks

When Rene Ramirez launched his food truck in 2018, he planned to locate it in Grand Prairie. But he soon realized it would be difficult, if not impossible, due to city restrictions on food trucks.

“We live in Grand Prairie and wanted to work in Grand Prairie,” Ramirez said. “But we couldn’t make it work.”

Ramirez’s truck, 225 BBQ, instead landed a permanent spot in nearby Arlington in 2020.

An online petition with more than 1,200 signatures is now asking Grand Prairie officials to consider easing restrictions on food trucks. The petition argues that food trucks can become an attraction for the community while benefiting residents.

A city spokesperson said food truck regulations are being reviewed in an effort to balance the interests of food trucks with brick-and-mortar restaurants.

Grand Prairie currently allows permanent food trucks at two locations: Asia Times Square and Premium Outlets. To temporarily relocate, food trucks must apply for a special event permit, which is reviewed by the city on a case-by-case basis.

Ramirez settled into outlets, but says the mall’s high fees — $500 for a weekend — have cut into his profits too much. And he applied for a special events permit, but found the process too cumbersome and gave up.

Malcom Chakery, who started the online petition, said cities in Texas and across the country have successfully supported food trucks without harming physical restaurants.

Chakery, who runs Grande Prairie Newssuggested the city provide more pop-up opportunities and permanent locations for food trucks, such as the Farmers Market.

“We are looking for more opportunities for small business owners,” he said. “I love our brick and mortar spots, but I think there’s room to be a little more food truck and cart friendly.”

Ramirez’s 225 barbecue now sits in the parking lot of Division Brewing in downtown Arlington. Since opening, the menu has evolved from barbecue to birria tacos and ramen, which almost always sell out.

Ramirez said he hopes to open a brick-and-mortar store within the next year. It will probably be in Arlington.

“I’ve always wanted to open a restaurant,” he says. “The food truck was just a small step to get your foot in the door.”

About James Almanza

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