Today’s outrage from the Statesman: a local vendor of snow cones is upset that the health department has shut down his stand.
Zapffe said he had no other realistic option when the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department required that he take his stand — an old catering truck — to department offices in East Austin for its annual inspection and operating sticker. But Zapffe, whose sticker expired May 31, said that the stand hasn’t been mobile for years and that he’d never been required to drive the truck for inspection before. Health department inspectors always came out to check the stand, he said.
I’ve stated before that I’m a libertarian. Thus, I think in an ideal world, it would be up to the customer to make the decision on purchasing snow cones, or bacon wrapped hot dogs, or tacos, from whatever trailer they want to purchase from. I figure people can make their own decisions based on how sketchy the trailer looks.
The health department makes a good point, further on in the article, that they’re trying to enforce the same rules for everyone; food vending trailers are supposed to be readily mobile. I know something about this. My folks owned a snow cone trailer for a while, so I’ve gotten an earful on the restrictions they had to obey.
In addition, it isn’t like they ran the guy out of business. This particular “trailer” sits in the parking lot of the restaurant owned by the same guy. As the article notes, now that the “trailer” is shut down, he’s serving snow cones out of the restaurant itself.
I know this area very well; this is where Tex-Guns is located. As the Statesman notes (buried in the second to last paragraph of the article) there’s another snow cone vendor – a real trailer, on wheels, which can be moved – within 50 feet of this guy’s establishment.
Why does Zapffe deserve a break, when South Austin Sno doesn’t?
Edited to add: And in LA, one councilman is trying to restrict food trucks on city streets. Let me just say this: “kimchi quesadillas”? I think I just threw up a little.
Edited to add 2: No, not NYC as well! Could this be the end of the schnitzel truck? Say it isn’t so!
Also, I somehow managed to miss this NYT article on the new wave of shaved ice.