GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - It's an interesting food fight that has pitted chefs in restaurants against chefs on wheels.
And there are some pretty fancy foods involved:
"Lamb chili. Pulled pork. Mozzarella and sun dried tomato mac and cheese," Molly Clauhs read off the menu for her business, the Silver Spork.
Clauhs's business takes her from place to place in a kitchen-equipped truck, texting, tweeting and Facebooking customers her location.
"And I'll let people know what farmers markets I'm at. If I have a certain private event on the day. I'll just let them know where they can find me," she said. "It brings something creative to downtown and adds just a little more vibrancy."
Right now, the trucks aren't allowed in downtown Grand Rapids. That may change.
On Thursday, the City Planning Commission will talk about allowing the trucks to operate on private property, like parking lots in the downtown area.
"You can have quality food off of a truck. I mean, that's been the whole new genre of street food across the country," said Clauhs, who moved to the Grand Rapids area from upstate New York about a year ago and saw opportunity for her kitchen on wheels.
She said the food trucks play a big role in making Grand Rapids a cool city.
But at what cost?
"I'm all for making it a cooler city, but not at the expense of existing restaurants that are established and have done the hard work," said One Trick Pony and Cottage Bar owner Dan Verhil.
Verhil is among the downtown restaurant owners who want to put the brakes on the food trucks. Verhil said it's not so much the competition, but instead the uneven field of play he has a problem with.
"We pay for our property tax fees, our employment taxes and all kinds of city assessment fees. Technically, these trucks can come in and park without paying any of these."
But Clauhs said when it comes to the truck-versus-brick and mortar restaurant business, it's like comparing apples to oranges.
"I think if you want to sit down and have lunch or dinner, that's a different experience than if you want to go to a food truck."
Insiders said that while the Planning Commission can act on the idea, they're more likely to send it on to the City Commission, which would give commissioners some food for thought.
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