• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 19s

Downtown food fight pits sandwich shop against food truck

By KTVA Alaska 11:12 PM November 5, 2013

Tensions boil between brick-and-mortar Brown Bag Sandwich Co. and mobile Urban Bamboo

ANCHORAGE – Mobile food trucks are an increasingly popular way to grab a bite to eat, but tensions are beginning to boil between a local restaurant and its four-wheeled competition.

At the Brown Bag Sandwich Co. in downtown Anchorage, lunchtime often brings a steady flow of customers. Owner Antoine McLeod said Monday that on the weekends, it’s a different story.

”I don’t have a problem with competition,” he said, amid of flurry of hands making sandwiches, cutting pickles and handing out meals. “As long as that competition is taking place at a level playing field.”

When it comes to the Urban Bamboo food truck, McLeod said that competition isn’t on the level playing field. The truck sets up shop just down the street from the Brown Bag, on the corner of 4th Avenue and D Street, just in front of the Avenue Bar.

That’s where McLeod said the food truck parks in metered parking spots after-hours. It’s a practice he said is both unfair and illegal.

”It’s just not fair for someone to be able to pull up during peak hours, not have to pay any of the real estate, any of the fees, any of the permits, [and] basically steal my customers and roll out at the end of the night,” he said.

McLeod points to the municipal code — Chapter 20, Section 30.02, to be exact — which reads “It is unlawful for anyone to use any public place … without first having applied for and obtained a permit.” He said he’s reached out to both the Anchorage Police Department and the municipality to address the issue.

A spokesperson for APD said it’s not a criminal matter and referred the issue to the municipal code enforcement officer, who did not return phone calls Monday.

“I totally love this kind of renaissance of great food places that are opening up in Anchorage,” McLeod said. “What I do have a problem with is … people operating illegally.”

“If I’m breaking a law, I’d like to see which one it is,” said John D’Elia, the owner of the Urban Bamboo food truck, the other side of the sandwich in the food fight.

D’Elia said he provides catering for the Avenue Bar, which is allowed under his food truck permit. Further, he said, his permit allows him to operate in public spaces; he contends that’s what those parking spaces are after-hours, when the meters no longer run.

“The meters are technically only meters until 6 o’clock” he said. “That’s not for me to make a decision, that’s for the municipality to make a decision.”

Multiple visits from the police—some addressing damage vandals have done to his truck, including broken windshields and windows—have found no criminal violations. D’Elia said he’s yet to hear from the city, but would like some guidelines.

”A clear definition needs to be given so that people aren’t doing things like this to my vehicle, and so people aren’t calling the police all the time,” he said. “I don’t need that in my life.”

A clear definition is just what the Anchorage Assembly is aiming for at a work session Thursday at City Hall.

”We have minimal regulations right now dealing with [food trucks]” said Assemblyman Dick Traini. “We have got to take a look and see, are there requirements, what do we have to put on them, in reference to ability of where they want to serve, and the people who have invested their money in the brick-and-mortar system.”

Members of the Anchorage Assembly will meet with municipal employees to discuss issues of roving vendors, right-of-way, and related issues Thursday.

Editor’s note: This article originally stated the Assembly would discuss the issue during a Rules Committee meeting on Thursday at 1 p.m. at City Hall, room 155. That meeting will be held as scheduled, but will not take up issues related to mobile food vendors.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Eagle River women turn to Kickstarter to fund indoor dog park

    by Bonney Bowman on Nov 27, 20:42

    Thousands of Alaskan dog owners know around this time of year it can be tough to get your dog enough exercise. Whether it’s cold and icy or wet and muddy, conditions aren’t always ideal for a long walk. That’s what inspired Alyssa Oehmke and Melanie Wallace to found the Alaska Canine Club, an indoor dog park. […]

  • News

    Locally-owned Anchorage stores brace for ‘Small Business Saturday’

    by Liz Raines on Nov 27, 18:18

    Although Black Friday had a low turnout in Anchorage this year, many local businesses say they’re banking on Saturday sales. “‘Small Business Saturday’ is always the big push, people come out in full force which is awesome, we appreciate that, completely,” said Annie Ciszak Pazar, owner of Bella Boutique in Spenard. “You know they call […]

  • News

    Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting suspect in custody, 3 dead

    by CBS/AP on Nov 27, 18:10

    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – An alleged gunman surrendered to police Friday, five hours after he opened fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. Police Lt. Catherine Buckley said two civilians and one police officer were killed. The officer was from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs police department, which was among the local […]

  • News

    Dangerous avalanche conditions continue across Southcentral Alaska

    by Heather Hintze on Nov 27, 17:39

    Warm, above-average temperatures mixed with wet, heavy snow have created extremely unsafe backcountry conditions across much of Southcentral Alaska. Avalanche forecaster Wendy Wagner wouldn’t venture into the Turnagain backcountry to check conditions on Friday. “We won’t even go off the road,” she explained. “We spend our time driving and looking for debris piles because you […]

  • Crime

    Spring Creek inmate faces attempted murder, assault charges

    by Shannon Kemp on Nov 27, 15:46

    A man already serving time at the Spring Creek Correctional Center for attempted murder has been charged with assaulting and attempting to murder a fellow inmate. The alleged assault occurred on Aug. 4, when 47-year-old Mark Spencer attacked a 41-year-old inmate at the correctional center in Seward. The victim was “cut seriously,” according to an […]

  • News

    Man reportedly pulls gun at Anchorage Lowe’s when asked to provide receipt

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 27, 14:05

    A man reportedly pulled a gun at an Anchorage Lowe’s on Black Friday after an employee asked to see the man’s receipt for a power tool. The man walked into the Tudor Road store and grabbed a DeWalt power tool, according to a Lowe’s employee who asked not to be named. At one point, a […]

  • News

    In Anchorage, youth prepare for life after foster care

    by Hope Miller on Nov 27, 13:31

    In less than a month, Jasmine Ratcliff will turn 21 years old. But she says she doesn’t feel the expected excitement about the milestone of a birthday. On. Dec. 23, Ratcliff will be too old to remain in foster care. She’s been in the system since she was a baby, she says, and has lived […]

  • Lifestyle

    Artists plan to rebuild Alaska art display damaged by tides, winds

    by Associated Press on Nov 27, 12:50

    Creators of a public art installation damaged by tides and high winds at an Anchorage beach plan to rebuild the display by the original opening date. Lead project artist Sarah Davies says participants at Point Woronzof have recovered 82 of 85 of the sculptures made of straw, cement, plaster and burlap. She says the official […]