The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday December 9th

Chapel Hill co-hosts town’s inaugural food truck rodeo

Radio station 97.9 sponsored a food truck rodeo on Thursday night. Ben Shirley of Parlez-Vous Crepes passes out an order.
Buy Photos Radio station 97.9 sponsored a food truck rodeo on Thursday night. Ben Shirley of Parlez-Vous Crepes passes out an order.

Alycia Inserra gets a rush of excitement every time she sees a new customer at the window of her food truck.

Inserra, who co-owns American Meltdown with her husband Paul, saw plenty of new customers Thursday night at Chapel Hill’s inaugural food truck rodeo, held at the WCHL radio station on Weaver Dairy Road.

“It’s awesome,” she said. “Food truck customers always have really great energy.”

The rodeo was co-sponsored by the town of Chapel Hill and WCHL to celebrate the station broadcasting on 97.9 FM.

Inserra, who is also a program manager for the UNC School of Government, said she has always wanted to bring her gourmet melts to Chapel Hill, but the current town ordinance has discouraged her from doing so.

The ordinance requires food truck owners to pay an annual $600 fee, as well as a $118 zoning compliance fee.

“It has always been our desire to go to the whole Triangle,” she said. “But the permits right now are a little too high.”

Fellow food truck owner Becky Cascio said it wasn’t the price of the permits that deterred her from coming to Chapel Hill, but the lack of available locations for food trucks.

“We are already really established in Durham,” said Cascio, who owns Pie Pushers, which sells pizza. “So it’s the financial burden and the fact that we can just cross on over into Carrboro.”

UNC students also got in on the food truck action.

Seniors Bryanna Foote and Devika Chawla said they heard about the event from friends.

“It’s cool because it supports local businesses, and it’s really cheap food, which is what students want,” said Chawla, a biology and psychology major, while eating a slice of eggplant feta pizza.

Foote, a global studies major, said she wishes there were more food trucks on campus.

“There is so much going on at Lenoir during lunch,” she said. “It would be cool to have a food truck to go to on campus.”

And the two said they are already making plans for their next food truck visit.

“One of the ‘Where We’ll Be’ signs on a food truck over there said they will be at Duke for, like, the rest of the week,” said Foote. “And I’m really jealous.”

The Chapel Hill Town Council will review its food truck ordinance this fall. Only one food truck has applied for a permit since the ordinance was passed in January.

And even though the food trucks aren’t here to stay yet, owners and students said they were happy to come out for the event.

“For me, this is all about a having a passion and a dream, and seeing that dream come to fruition,” Inserra said, while wiping her hands on her full-body apron. “It’s been a great journey, though.”

Contact the desk editor at city@dailytarheel.com.

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