Want a spicy but refreshing mangonada to go with that enchiladas con carne?
Head down to New Haven's Long Wharf Drive where a long line of food trucks serve up an eclectic array of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Central, and South American specialities. A little salsa music too.
Long Wharf is one of the city's four recently established food vending districts. For $2,500 a year, food trucks get a designated spot each day. At Long Wharf, another $500 gets them hooked up to electricity.
It's good when business is booming. But restrictive when it's not, say some vendors.
This hour, we go inside the somewhat nomadic existence of these roadside chefs. We look at what other communities in Connecticut are doing -- or not doing -- to adapt their permitting and zoning regulations to keep up with what industry researchers say is a nearly $1 billion business in the U.S.
Are you a food truck operator struggling to make ends meet?
- Eric Stagl - Chef whose Craftbird food truck specializes in serving gourmet fried chicken sandwiches to the lunch crowd at Hartford's State House Square
- Gee Tran - Owner of Hartford's Banh Meee restaurant, which he started as a food truck
- Steve Fontana - New Haven's Deputy Economic Development Director who helped overhaul the city's food vending regulations in 2017.
- Tate Norden - Iron & Grain mobile bar and grill owner who's planning to open GastroPark, a food truck park on New Park Avenue in West Hartford
Hartford Courant: Day in the Life of a Food Truck Chef - "It's all a matter of efficiency, well-maintained mise en place (meaning "everything in its place) and staying relaxed even as tickets mount."
Lydia Brown and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.