DOCUMENT: Norfolk City Council debates letting food trucks operate downtown

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by Arrianee LeBeau, 13News

WVEC.com

Posted on January 8, 2013 at 8:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 9 at 8:49 AM

NORFOLK-- In an informal session Tuesday night, city council members discussed the possibility of letting mobile food trucks operate downtown.

Some restaurant owners are not in favor of them and feel the trucks would take business away from brick and mortar restaurants. 

Norfolk business owner Robert Soscia has spent six years trying to keep his restaurant thriving.

He said when the economy declined, less people started eating out, retail space downtown remained vacant and things got difficult.

“If we were in a bigger and more populated area it would work because you have millions of people to support the food trucks and the surrounding restaurants,” said Soscia.

Baxter Simmons owns three restaurants downtown and said if restaurants were packed and had waiting lists, he’d have no problem with food trucks in the area.

“Things aren’t booming downtown. If things were on the upswing it would be a different story. But right now they need to protect the people that have originally made the commitment to downtown and who are here through thick and thin,” said Simmons.

Food truck operator Evan Harrell thinks food trucks would bring more business to the area.

“I bring my own customers. My goal is to bring more people into downtown so I see the pie growing, I see other restaurants benefiting,” said Harrell.

Harrell hopes the city will give food trucks a try and let time decide.

“For the people who still might not be convinced, I say let’s give it a shot and you tell me in a year if it’s working for you or not,” said Harrell. 

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