March 20, 2018
OBX Food Trucks on the Menu
BY NEEL KELLER
The Outer Banks Sentinel
the favorable consensus among those speaking at the March 19 Dare Board
of Commissioners meeting, opening the door to food trucks seemed like
an idea whose time had clearly come.
So, following a public hearing on the issue, the Dare Commissioners
unanimously amended zoning ordinances in unincorporated portions of
Dare County to allow food stands and mobile food units for the first
Brent Johnson, owner of Jumpmasters Trampoline Park in Manteo, said
food trucks have evolved and improved in recent years, and are now part
of a booming industry. "Food trucks offer a different and unique style
of food that you're not typically going to see in a brick-and-mortar
restaurant," he said.
They are often a stepping stone, he added, to traditional restaurants
for entrepreneurs looking for a low-cost way to enter the business.
Kelly Macchia, owner of a business in Frisco, said the village is "a
quality food desert, especially in the off-season," adding that her
business site would welcome food trucks. She also noted that many food
trucks use a commissary to prepare and store food while satisfying
local health department requirements.
Eric Reese said he recently acquired a food truck to handle catering
for his existing restaurant. He stated that he wanted "to dispel what
to me is antiquated thinking — that restaurants desire to keep
Observing that competition "makes everybody's game a little bit
better," he said the Outer Banks' problem of keeping up with the need
to feed tourists called for alternatives to "take some of the heat off
and also to give the tourists a better experience."
Some restaurant owners welcomed food trucks with the condition that they be operated properly.
Ten O Six Beach Road Bistro owner Toby Gonzales said the introduction
of food trucks will provide an opportunity "to become a food mecca, as
long as we can diversify the experience of eating on the Outer
Banks…but please do it responsibly."
Sugar Creek owner Ervin Bateman said he would be "grateful to be able
to take my catering vehicle down to Hatteras...but cross your T's and
dot your I's."
In approving the food trucks, the commissioners deleted a requirement
that they needed to be associated with an existing restaurant,
requiring instead that they meet all health department standards. The
other requirements for the trucks include locating in the parking lot
of an existing business with 10 available parking spaces, a maximum of
eight outdoor seats and public restrooms available that do not include
At the meeting, Commissioner Danny Couch asked Dare County Planning
Director Donna Creef about the timetable for food trucks getting
approval to operate.
"If they have health department approval and bring me a site plan, they
can get approved in two weeks," she responded, signaling that they
would be able to operate in the coming tourist season.