The citywide popularity of mobile meals has grown like crazy in recent years, as has the piecemeal bureaucracy cobbled together to regulate it. Compared to cities where food truck culture flourishes such as Portland, Los Angeles, and New York, Atlanta's food vending laws seem outdated, not to mention misunderstood by those tasked with enforcing them. Despite the hassles, a growing number of people continue to invest in the street food movement here.
And why bother caring about food trucks in a city like Atlanta, anyway? With no true center, tracking down a gathering of food trucks here can be inconvenient if you aren't already nearby.
John T. Edge, former Atlantan, celebrated observer of American food culture, and author of the Truck Food Cookbook, says, "Food trucks and carts have the power to transform desolate cityscapes into vital places; they increase street traffic and in doing so, make for safer, more livable cities." Whether the food trucks in Atlanta will be around long enough to contribute to these kinds of benefits remains to be seen. For now, we'll wait, eating and enjoying a new, diverse genre of cuisine, and see whether or not a city like Atlanta will embrace a dining evolution.
For CL's food truck issue, we worked a double with the MIX'D UP food truck crew, assembled a list of our favorite local food trucks, including where you can find them in the city and on Twitter, and looked deeper into the tangle of red tape that controls Atlanta street food.
A ride along with the MIX'd UP food truck crew
A look at 8 food trucks on the streets now
Bureaucracy, fees, and some murky legal issues are obstacles for city's thriving food-truck movement