Join Club

Courthouse Restaurants Organize for Food Truck Restrictions

Food truck parked outside of Summers Restaurant, photo by Alan Beals

(Updated at 6:30 p.m.) The owners and managers of 12 restaurants centered around the Courthouse Metro station say local food trucks are severely impacting their restaurants.

We’re told that representatives from Summers Restaurant, Guarapo, Me Jana, TNR Cafe, Afghan Kabob House, Subway, Cosi, Boston Market, California Tortilla, Jerry’s Subs and Pizza, Corner Bakery, and Ireland’s Four Courts met Wednesday to form a group that plans to push the Arlington County Board to further regulate food trucks.

Alan Beal, COO of Bar Concepts, a restaurant consulting company that recently started working with Summers Restaurant, was the one who called Wednesday’s meeting to order.

“We’re forming a coalition because the food trucks are running amok,” says Beal. “It has a serious financial impact on these brick and mortar restaurants.”

Beal says between three and five food trucks park in front of Summers Restaurant and other Courthouse area eateries each day. Though the trucks are legally allowed to park there for two hours, Beal and other restaurant owners say the trucks sometimes skirt that time limit.

“Parking is free until 8 a.m.,” says Beal. “From 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., food trucks will send cars to the Courthouse area to park in all the spots in front of these restaurants and wait for the food trucks to show up.”

“Sometimes, the food trucks even send people to stand in the spots and wait for the food trucks to arrive.” says Beal.

Guarapo owner Nesrin Abaza says the accumulation of food trucks caused her business to stop serving lunch altogether.

“It just wasn’t feasible,” says Abaza. “How can you compete? There’s no control.”

“It’s like, can I stand outside the restaurant next door and sell my empanadas?” Abaza says. “Would I be allowed to do that? Absolutely not. But food trucks can do that to us.”

Despite the recent outcry in Courthouse, this is hardly the first time food trucks have clashed with brick-and-mortar restaurants. In 2012, Rosslyn’s Business Improvement District mulled asking for restrictions on where food trucks could operate. But in 2013, the Arlington County Board went the opposite direction — voting to extend the parking time limit for food trucks from one hour to two hours.

“Our argument is that Arlington County has been listening to the food trucks,” Beal says. “At the end of the day, none of our businesses were approached or represented, and we see the food trucks multiplying.”

Che Ruddell-Tabisola, executive director of the DMV Food Truck Association, says he’s sympathetic to the restaurants’ problems, but that more regulation isn’t the answer.

“This has been something very common to hear from brick and mortar owners,” says Ruddell-Tabisola. “The underlying myth is that food trucks are somehow harming existing businesses, and it’s just not true.”

Ruddell-Tabisola points to peaceful coexistence of D.C. food trucks and restaurants as proof that brick-and-mortars and trucks can live together in harmony.

“The best case in point for this is Farragut Square in Washington D.C.,” he says. “In the past 2.5 years, four brick and mortar restaurants have opened up there.”

To Ruddell-Tabisola, this isn’t a truck-against-restaurant issue, it’s a simple matter of parking management.

“It’s definitely not just a parking issue,” counters Beal. “I just feel like Courthouse was overlooked. These business owners need to be heard.”

The coalition’s next step is to present its case to the Arlington County Board. Though it hasn’t come up with a final list of grievances and policy requests yet, Abaza says she’d at least like to see restrictions on where food trucks can operate.

“The food trucks need to have a place [of business] just like we have one,” says Abaza. “You need to walk or drive to my restaurant, so you need to walk or drive up to the food truck. That’s fair.”

At the end of the day, Beal says he doesn’t want to get rid of the trucks. He just wants to level what he sees as lopsided playing field.

“We’re not on the warpath here,” says Beal. “We just have to find a way to coexist.”

Photo courtesy of Alan Beal.

Recent Stories

An unusual crash blocked lanes on I-66 Friday evening. Three people were hurt, none seriously, in the crash on eastbound I-66 near Patrick Henry Drive, according to the Arlington County…

It’s going to be a windy Saturday. The National Weather Service just issued a Wind Advisory for Arlington and other parts of the D.C. region, in effect until 6 p.m….

Good Friday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…

McLean-based Golden Boot Soccer has been a leader in youth soccer skill development and fun for nearly 30 years, and this summer they’re bringing their popular summer camps back to…

It is the decision of the United States Department of Defense (DoD) Washington Headquarters Services (WHS) to implement the Proposed Action: the 2024 Pentagon Reservation Master Plan Update (Pentagon Master Plan) as the framework to guide future decisions regarding land use and infrastructure at the Pentagon site and Mark Center. The Pentagon Master Plan aims to provide an update to the existing conditions at the Pentagon and Mark Center and presents projects and revisions to land use categorizations that will address the specific needs to reduce the Pentagon’s environmental impacts and advance sustainability, security, and resilience. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review has been completed through preparation of a Final Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate environmental impacts arising from implementation of the projects. WHS has concluded that no significant impacts to the human or natural environment will result from implementation of any projects, and recognized negative effects will be reduced by adherence to standard best management practices, applicable permit and consultation conditions, and standard operating procedures. This decision is further documented in the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) signed on March 20, 2024.

This notice announces the availability of the FONSI to implement the 2024 Pentagon Reservation Master Plan Update.

For further information and to request a copy of the Final EA or FONSI, please contact Brian King, Environmental and Sustainability Program Manager, WHS/Facilities Services Directorate/Standards and Compliance Division/Environmental and Sustainability Branch; (703-614-3658 or [email protected]). Please include “Pentagon Master Plan Final EA and FONSI” in the subject line.

Submit your own Announcement here.

The 3rd Annual Arlington Fair Housing Conference will feature Thomas Silverstein, renowned Fair Housing expert and Associate Director of the Fair Housing & Community Development Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Come hear the latest news about fair housing enforcement, policy, and programs within Arlington County, Virginia, and across the country! Our expert panelists and guest speakers include fair housing advocates, elected officials, and government officials tasked with advancing housing equity at the local, state, and federal level.

Arlington has made substantial strides in advancing housing equity and improving fair housing policy with the adoption of the Regional Fair Housing Plan in 2023. Come learn what’s next to fight housing discrimination, incorporate equity for marginalized populations in our housing policies and programs, and increase awareness of fair housing rights under state and federal law.

We’ll have updates from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing federal rule, a panel discussion of fair housing progress at the General Assembly and across Virginia, and a panel of local experts discussing the progress Arlington has made and what remains to be done.
Please RSVP in advance to ensure you receive your free lunch at the conference. Free and open to the public.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Fascination

Goth-Dark Wave Dance Party with Belly Dancing and Drag King Show.

                                         Part of Our

Alternative Thursdays for Alternave People with Alternative Lifestyles

                                      Performances By

Belladonna and the Nightshades

Ya Meena

Drag King - Ken Vegas

DJ Michelle Guided

National Chamber Ensemble – Concerto Celebration

We invite you to join us for an extraordinary evening of music at our Season Finale, “Concerto Celebration”! Enjoy several masterworks as NCE performs two famous concertos in an intimate chamber music setting, opening with a delightful work by Chevalier

×

Subscribe to our mailing list