The Second Saturday Wynwood Artwalk food truck roundup has been cancelled for this month. Short Order learned about the cancellation from organizer/restaurateur Richard Hales, who said that the popular monthly food truck roundup was being shuttered due to a tip off to the City of Miami Zoning Department by another food truck roundup organizer.
According to Hales, the vacant lot that serves as the Wynwood roundup location changed ownership and Hales had to reapply for a temporary event permit. Hales submitted the paperwork about a month ago, and planned to hold the roundup as usual. But then he received a visit from zoning officials at his restaurant, Sakaya Kitchen.
They informed him they received an email of his plans to hold the roundup on Saturday evening and that if he proceeded, inspectors might show up. If they found the roundup was being operated without a permit, truck owners would be issued a warning and the property owner would receive a fine. Hales then decided to call off the roundup, effectively pulling the plug on work for 34 food trucks, 20 crafts vendors, a DJ, and a charity that was going to sell t-shirts.
Hales told Short Order that that kind of revenue loss is detrimental to the truckers who rely on every event in order to make a living. "Times are difficult for everyone. Here you've got about 56 individual businesses who are losing a combined $60-70,000 in revenue for the evening. That hurts everyone involved."
But Hales determined that holding the event wasn't worth taking a chance and incurring the wrath of the city of Miami. "Food truck owners are working with police and the city to do everything legit and legal. We are not rogue. The permitting process is in place, and we'll wait until we're issued the permit."
The informant, by the way, is Brad Knoefler, president of the Omni
Parkwest Redevelopment Association. Knoefler, is the organizer of the
new Friday evening food truck event at Grand Central Park in Overtown.
Short Order spoke with Knoefler, who confirmed that he sent an email to
the city's zoning department.
"Every email that I send to the
government is public record, so yes, I did send an email," he
said. As president of a community organization, Knoefler said he's
informed of all special event permits that are pulled. When he noticed
that a permit wasn't pulled for the Wynwood roundup, he sent the email.
Knoefler said that he was concerned about fires and emergencies at the
Wynwood site. "I want to legitimize food trucks in Miami," he told Short
Order, "but there are life safety issues in play here."
said that he has a three-year permit to hold special events at Grand
Central Park and plans to hold various fundraisers, including tonight's
food truck roundup, which comes with a suggested $5 donation for
It seems, though, that his fundraiser might also be cancelled. Food truck owners are pulling out of the event to show
solidarity. Knoefler said
that while he feels that the park is the best place for food trucks,
he'll cancel the event if he has to. "We're a non-profit. We don't
really need a roundup, but we're for economic development."
the meantime, Knoefler feels that everything will work itself out today
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for both roundups, "Look, maybe the city will give [Hales] an emergency
permit. My intent is positive."
Short Order will provide updates regarding the status of the two food truck roundups.