Food trucks to vend in OTR sites, including Washington Park

The Mobile Food Vending Program began as a pilot program in 2010, with food truck zones at Fifth and Race streets, Court Street and Sawyer Point. Since its inception, MFVP has expanded to Fountain Square, the University area, and most recently, Washington Park and Over-the-Rhine.
Last Wednesday, City Council passed MFVP into law. In 30 days, there will be new breakfast and lunchtime food truck zones at Washington Park for three trucks, a nighttime zone in OTR at 12th and Clay streets for two trucks, plus a streamlined application and easier payment options for vendors.
“This is great news for food trucks,” says Emily Frank, president of the Cincinnati Mobile Food Truck Association and owner/operator of C’est Cheese food truck. “It shows that City Council supports food trucks and wants to see them around for many years to come.”
Frank says CMFTA targeted OTR for two reasons. The organization has a great working relationship with 3CDC, and they want to help promote Washington Park as a lunch spot. Bistro tables and chairs will be set out so customers don’t have to sit on the ground.
Food trucks have wanted to vend in OTR at night for several years, but haven’t been able to. The Night Owl Market sets up in a parking lot some weekends, but food trucks were looking for other places to park to reach a wider customer base.
“There’s a great late-night scene in OTR, and we’re thrilled to now be able to provide more fast, casual food options for everyone,” Frank says.
Changes were also made to the application and payment options for food trucks. First, the $25 application fee was removed. Second, the $1,000 permit fee that once had to be paid in full, can now either be paid in full or be split into two payments of $600. The new option does end cost more, but it allows for flexibility for truck owners, who can now purchase only six months for $600.
CMFTA is excited about their new vending opportunities, and later this year, they plan to tackle other areas of downtown, such as the Contemporary Arts Center, the Taft Theatre and the Duke Energy Convention Center, Frank says.
On May 17, there will be a press event at lunchtime in Washington Park to kick off the new food truck zones.
By Caitlin Koenig
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