First meeting of new Philadelphia food truck vendors association

    Some of Philadelphia street-food vendors are forming an association to open the industry to more operators. The first meeting of Philadelphia Food Truck Association will meet tonight (12/12) An association of food truck vendors already exists. It’s called the Unified Vendors of Philadelphia, and it’s president is Paul Tolis, working at Broad and Arch streets.He has been selling hot dogs and egg sandwiches for over 30 years. The Unified Vendors came together during a turf war with downtown businesses. “We came on a compromise vending bill in 1990 with the business community, took us some time. City Council passed it. It’s a law now,” he said.That 1990 law created a downtown vending district, and capped the number of vendors permitted in that district. Since then the Unified Vendors has not been active.A newly-formed street food vendor association is spearheaded by Andrew Gerson, a trained chef who cut his teeth in some of the higher-end restaurants in town. Gerson is now planning to open his own gourmet pasta truck. He was inspired by food truck owners in Los Angeles who prep food in communal commissaries and save money with a buying club. He wants to take it a step further. “We’d like to see a more sustainable food hub connected to one of these commissaries, that would offer healthier, local product that supported the producers in the area,” he said.Gerson would also like to see relaxed city regulations regarding street vendors, and open up vacant lots as destination sites for food trucks. The old-guard vendors warn that getting anything through City Council will be a formidable fight.

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