What The Fuck?
If you’ve read the recent article from Philly news website Billy Penn regarding the crippling and completely random cease-and-desist ordinance of the Fishtown food trucks (located at Frankford & Girard), you’ve probably already had a similar reaction to the one above. And rightfully so! What other news would merit such a response from the drunk-food-loving people of Philadelphia more than this?
To break down the article quickly, the food trucks we’ve all come to know and love as staples of our post-bar-pre-home snacking corner of Fishtown were randomly ordered by officials of the city’s License and Inspection Nuisance Property Unit last weekend to shut down and stop serving food by midnight. The reasoning for the ordinance was due to complaints of excessive trash and traffic that the area had supposedly been creating, which in itself is bullshit (a few stray, palm-sized paper taco trays hardly merits the title of “excess trash”).
The article also explains that it has technically been illegal to serve food on city property past midnight for years now, but only last weekend has the law been enforced without a single warning to the truck owners who frequently park at the intersection (many of which who’s livelihoods are dependent on serving food to us until 3 AM.
I won’t go any further on the article other than saying that this abrupt, and frankly suspicious, enforcement of an arbitrary law has taken a huge toll on the local food scene in Fishtown. Not only has it cut one food truck’s nightly sales by more than half of what they usually make, it limits the availability of food for the post-bar crowd: a crowd who, for whatever necessary reason, may need a moment or two to… you know… sober up. It may not seem like that big of a deal right now, but hear me out:
The intersection at the Frankford and Girard is a central destination to countless bars in the Fishtown and Northern Liberties areas (not to mention that the newly opened Fillmore music venue is serving up countless drinks to thousands of concert-goers down the street). People are going to be stumbling out of the bars and on to the streets regardless of the selection of drunk food after 2 AM. The food trucks that have become synonymous with late-night grub at F&G have been providing a service, if anything, as something to do while one sits down, eats, and sobers up before the walk, Uber ride, or worse, drive home. An impromptu, last-chance pit stop to bring you that much closer to making sure you make the best possible decision to get home safely with a full stomach (this is by no means to say that this particular intersection is a high-alert area for drunk driving. At least for now).If the above argument makes it seem as if I’m reaching here, it’s because I am. Beyond losing one of my most cherished food spots to frequent with some of the best, most eclectic selections of menu items I know -post 2 AM or not- I don’t have much of an argument to convince the city’s Licensing and Inspection department from retracting their ordinance other than to say it will negatively effect general public health. If fear mongering works as an effective method to change public policy, why wouldn’t it work for me, right?
For now, the best idea I could come up with (other than contacting the local neighborhood association, L&I, and city councilman Darrell Clark) was to sign the online petition started by the owners of the Grubaholics food truck, which insists that the food trucks be allowed to serve after midnight.
You can also join me on social media by posting your support for the petition with the #MakeFrankfordAndGirardGreatAgain tag, where I’ll be tagging various public officials in hopes to bring light to this matter.
I’ll be posting updates to this as more information comes out.