CHARLOTTE, NC – Large crowds will converge on Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention. Many will need a quick dining option between events; local food trucks are prepping their menus and heating up their grills, hoping for a piece of the action.
Brian Seeley has been running the Herban Legend food truck and sizzling up his menu for the last year, “Arabic shwarma…it’s a chicken pita with tzatziki sauce and tabouleh.”
The Herban Legend has attracted a following that can’t get enough of its tasty options. Reed Carlson is one of his usual customers. He says the food is affordable and delicious, “You get a great meal, it’s fresh, it's juicy and that's all you want with a burger."
But not everyone will taste the delicious menu. Even though the Convention Host Committee is now allowing vendors to apply for spots in Uptown, Brian says it simply isn't worth it; this size of his truck would run him up to $12,000 dollars just for the week of the convention, “I couldn’t even come close to making any kind of money, I wouldn’t even break even; for the Democratic National Convention, it’s supposed to be behind small business, now they’re trying to limit what that small business can do.”
Even residents like Tom Duarte say the rules are a bit tough to swallow, “With the influx of people, I think there is going to be a need for more catering; more business and I think it’s a good time for them to show off.”
Seeley says he’s working around the DNC limitations and counting on what got him here in the first place, “Get as much of the business as I can, you got to rake the hay while the sun is shining, but the money that keeps your business going is from the people who are here all the time and that’s who I am going to cater to.”
Food truck vendors must also comply with a 2008 ordinance that limits where they can go and how late they can operate. Mobile vendors must stay 400 feet from other trucks and residential areas. Mobile vendors must also close up shop by 9pm and can only be at a specific location for no more than 90 days.