Lots of interesting food-related news items to discuss this week. Here are three of them…
It’s becoming more and more clear that if you operate a food truck in Ocean County, your business is becoming less and less welcome. Deez Dogs had their battle down in Barnegat, Bayville got rid of their food trucks along Route 9, and now Dewey’s Dogs has no place to call home here in Forked River. The plot of land that Dewey’s has rested upon for years has been sold to be used for office space (even though there’s still plenty of unused office space already here in town, but I digress), and a plan to use land next to Forked River House as their new home was voted down by the local planning board. So now a local institution, which is as much a part of the fabric of the area as The German Butcher and Mr. Walking Billboard, is just going to get tossed aside.
The argument against food trucks is this: they don’t pay taxes and utilities as regular restaurants do, and since food trucks and restaurants compete with each other it gives food trucks some kind of advantage. The reality is that you could just stop reading after ‘they don’t pay taxes’ to see why food trucks are going bye-bye in Ocean County. It’s all about the tax revenue. So while there are flourishing food truck scenes in New York, Philly, Austin and LA, don’t look for that to happen here.
I know that politicians tend to over-promise and under-deliver, but this next story takes that notion to an interesting level. Laguna Grill in Brigantine is going to pay a $23,000 fine and have to be closed for a week next summer as punishment for having cheaper vodka in the top shelf brand bottles. What gives this liquor story an extra kick is that the owner of the bar is Tony Pullella, a councilman in Brigantine. He says that he wasn’t aware of this, has sincerely apologized and has fired the person in charge of the beverages – his sister. Can we believe that he didn’t know? I will leave that determination up to you.
Let’s finish up with a more positive story. More suds will be a-flowing down Cape May County way: Tuckahoe Brewing got the green light to start making beer! With licensing all in place, it looks like their brews will be available on tap in local establishments next month, with a tasting room of their own soon after.
With Cape May Brewing already up and running, and now Tuckahoe Brewing joining them, we’re seeing a nice jump in local microbrews. And when Pinelands and Stone Turtle get going next year, you will have the makings of a legitimate beer trail running through Cumberland and Cape May counties. Woohoo!
A couple of other items I wanted to mention:
Bill S-3172, which allows for direct shipping as well as keeping wine tasting rooms in place, passed in the State Senate yesterday. Now it goes on the Assembly and a January 9 date for them to act upon it. If they don’t, well, we don’t know what’s going to happen – and that’s not good.
And be on the lookout for Gary Monterosso’s book “Artisan Beer”, which has been released!
Have a great weekend! And check out our site for the complete Friday post!