Food trucks face fight with decades-old ordinance

Food trucks are gaining in popularity around Indianapolis.

BROAD RIPPLE - An Indianapolis law on the books from more than 30 years ago is causing a lot of confusion and being challenged by a growing food fad.

"It's right on the street. It's really nice," says Coryell Driver of the mobile food truck "The New York Slice" parked along College Avenue in Broad Ripple Tuesday night.

"They seem to be everywhere," adds her husband, Keenan.

And they have been, parking sometimes downtown on the circle, sometimes at local parks, other times along Massachusetts Avenue and lately, Broad Ripple. Mobile food trucks are picking up speed in Indianapolis and gaining mileage with customers.

"They've actually gotten really popular here in the city," says customer Tiffany Parker.

Social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook have really added to the buzz surrounding food trucks. Customers can follow them online and follow them wherever they go, almost like food truck groupies.

"It's exciting to kind of keep up with them and search for where they're going to be at," says Parker.

"We want to make sure that's a booming industry in town," says Marc Lotter with Mayor Greg Ballard's office.

That might mean the mayor and the City-County Council have to revisit a law that's been on the books more than 30 years.

That law says after 10 p.m. through 6 a.m., food can't be sold on the street out of a truck.

"When you read the entire ordinance, it's basically governing ice cream trucks," explains Lotter.

But the owners of The New York Slice truck say they've gotten tickets from police anyway and been asked to leave areas, even before 10 pm.

"There's kind of a little confusion right now going on within the city and the police department," says the truck's owner, John Ban.

"They do seem to be located everywhere and anywhere they want to stop and set up. I think that might be an issue that needs to be addressed," says Jason McGiverin, the owner of Za's, a pizza shop in Broad Ripple.

McGiverin says he's not worried about losing business to food trucks.

"I welcome the competition because, again, our product, it's second to none," says McGiverin.

"As long as you're legally parked, uh, you know, it's all fair game," says Ban. "We feed the meter and follow the rules."

But unless the law is changed, instead of firing up their oven, these food truck owners will be firing up the engine on their truck and moving on.