Locally Grown

Magnetically Violent: Des Moines’ Food Carts

Yesterday we covered the possible origins of this holiday called “Thanks-Giving” as told by my intoxicated friend Burt.  Cold turkeys, rich kids, French cream, and the “Peace Pipe” (which also seemed to play a part in Burt’s glassy-eyed story telling style) all contributed, in one way or another, to this food-ular celebration of American History.  And even though I don’t particularly care for rich kids or the French, and certainly not Rich French Kids, and I have gone Cold Turkey on the Peace Pipe years ago, Burt’s telling of our country’s founding invaders touches me and makes me proud of the accomplishments accomplished by land theft, invasion, and colonialism.  I will thusly be dining in the honor of all that is Thanksgiving.

Dr. Peter Venkman's Worst Thanksgiving Nightmare

We also covered the newly minted battle between the City and Food Cart Operators.  A few of you have wondered why closing by 1:30 is such a big deal, and the answer is THE NEW RULES ARE BASED ON A BUNCH OF BULLHONKEY AND SHOULDN’T HAVE EVEN BEEN MADE.  I stick by my story that at least one small “Food Truck In A Store Front” owner who has given the Food Carts downtown previous grief is possibly part of the problem here.  Food Carts are not the enemy of downtown.  The real A-hole factories: 4th Down, Surf Shack, Liar’s Club, 101, have made more of a nuisance in the streets than a thousand anarchist revolutionary food carts could ever hope to.  (This is not to say that our food carts are anarcho)  One incident outside Club 101 in July of ’09 left a man almost beaten to death in front of a crowd of 60, all witnessed by the operator of the Mooncheez grilled cheese cart (who was not responsible for the incident).  A letter written by a Des Moines Police Detective to Des Moines City Clerk Diane Rauh on July 9 of 2010 (one year from the beating incident) referencing the request for Liquor License Renewal for 101 Lounge supports the fact that the real problem is not the Food Carts. (original .pdf file can be found here)

Reference 101 Lounge over the last year: 70 total trips, 31 fights or disputes, 5 intoxicated persons, 6 accidents, 3 DPQ, 3 vandalism, 2 larceny of motor vehicles, 11 misc. trips.  The owner hires off duty police officers on the weekends which may be some of the reason for this many tips.  The numbers are on the high side but not out of line with some of the other bars down town.

The numbers are on the high side but not out of line with some of the other bars down town?  So, is the City trying to push the blame for congestion and violence off on the Food Cart operators?  I haven’t been able to find one official statistic for Food Cart related incidents, yet the Council seems to think that the Downtown’s problems are rooted in the presence of food carts AFTER 1:30 AM AND BEFORE 5:30 AM. Do you see what is going on here?

I am not trying to single out 101, but to show you, as stated by the authorities, that these kind of numbers are not uncommon within the down town bar scene.  Remember also that these are the number of reported incidents, a number which is known to be much lower than actual incidents.

What I am saying is that Food Cart Operators are being unfairly and unjustly targeted, and that this new ruling by the Des Moines City Council is about as ludicrous as the City of Des Moines 1942 ban on dancing from 2am to 6am.  There are still some facts that need to be uncovered regarding this decision, but it smells to me that the Council is trying to once again move Our Fair City in reverse.

On a side note, the Crusader Against Ingersoll Bike Lanes, Chris Coleman was the only council member voting “nay” on this issue.  Thanks for your marginal support.

The Cook




4 Comments so far
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yeah, and the sole fact that Larry Smithson is still allowed to own the bars/clubs that contribute highly to this problem is sick and wrong. I would love to see more food carts if for the fact that food + drinking = not as drunk.

Comment by Maggasaki

Anyone interested in getting a petition going or some kind of coalition to help show des moines how food carts rock. lets make des moines, the next portland of food carts. and rail system would be nice too.

Comment by q2mobile

exactly. I would like this to happen.

Comment by locallygrown

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