Food trucks assigned to specific spots starting Monday

The Basil Thyme food truck lines up at Metro Center on Friday, Nov. 29. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)

WASHINGTON – The area’s approximately 250 food trucks are competing for new assigned parking spots, a concept many customers don’t like.

“I kinda like coming out here once in a while and seeing what there is,” says Jeff Bishop, who bought a Philly cheesesteak sandwich from a food truck in Metro Center Friday.

But he’s not so keen on the District assigning food trucks spots.

“The idea of having the same truck in the same place every day – I don’t like at all,” he says.

The District implemented a lottery system for the most coveted food truck spots in high sale areas like Farragut North, Union Station and L’Enfant Plaza. Trucks that were picked to participate are assigned to certain spots on certain days.

The city says the lottery will bring “predictability and certainty” to customers, reports The Associated Press.

But food truck owners are not so hot on the change according to Basil Thyme food truck owner Brian Farrell.

Instead of choosing where to go his truck is now assigned to specific locations, some where he doesn’t think will be good for business, like George Washington University’s campus. In fact, he’s unsure where he’ll park the truck Monday in Foggy Bottom.

“I don’t even know what to do with that. We make everything from scratch, so we’re at a price point of $11 and $12. The G.W. students are not my target audience,” he says.

He assumes the city is attempting to spread the trucks around the city as opposed to having them concentrated in specific parts of town.

“I’m in these locations because I’m trying to survive. During January and February, we’ll be able to break even,” Farrell says.

He feels for the newer food trucks who have yet to establish a following for their food. He says without that office following, he wouldn’t be able to sell 100 meals per day like he often does at the State Department and L’Enfant Plaza.

Trucks that are not a part of the city’s lottery parking program can still sell food on the street, but they must park 200 feet away from the designated locations and pay meter parking.

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