City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Police raid ‘Food Truck Wednesday’ in Virginia Highland

530134_376165089120623_769987742_nAtlanta Police arrived at this week’s Food Truck Wednesday in Virginia Highland and issued citations to five different trucks for the lack of proper permits.

Bettie Cagle, who organizes of the weekly food truck gathering, stepped away from the park for a few minutes, returning around 8:15 p.m. to find two police officers in the park checking permits for each of the vendors. The permits in question – the City of Atlanta business licenses that requires a vendor must have a license for each specific address they operate from – appear to be the same ones that led to the temporary closing of the Atlanta Food Truck Park this May.

“It is not a health or safety issue. These guys are fully permitted and follow all of the health regulation codes,” said Cagle, “but when you are at an event and the police come and shut it down, there is a lot of speculation, which makes me nervous for the trucks.”

The officers that arrived on the scene explained that they were responding to a complaint, but, at the time, did not explain the nature of the complaint or who filed it. However, I spoke with Officer John Chafee of the Public Affairs unit of the APD, who explained that “Our License and Permits Unit was responding to an anonymous complaint regarding food trucks operating in the Virginia Highlands area.”

Cagle, who also organizes the relatively new Smyrna Food Truck Tuesdays, went on to say that many of the suburban cities are coming out as much more supportive of food trucks, and that has many vendors looking outside the perimeter as a safe haven from the convoluted processes that vendors must deal with in the City of Atlanta.

“I really think it is why the trucks are migrating out of the city,” Cagle explained, “because I think Atlanta is theoretically behind it, but there aren’t a lot of processes in place.” Cagle said that the recent events in Smyrna have been drawing crowds as large as 1,000 people.

All five of the trucks that were cited were shut down for the remainder of the evening, which constituted over half of the trucks in attendance. Cagle confirmed that Food Truck Wednesday will go on next week as planned.

- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog

91 comments Add your comment


August 24th, 2012
6:09 am

Why would anyone eat food made in a truck????


August 24th, 2012
6:23 am

@ frank:

You take the food to where the people are. Truck, kitchen, what’s the difference?


August 24th, 2012
6:56 am

So, who will win the pool on which across-the-street restaurant is the anonymous complainer? Osteria? American Roadhouse?


August 24th, 2012
7:15 am

Has to be American Roadhouse. Their food sucks.


August 24th, 2012
8:11 am

Dang it Atlanta, quit trying to stifle foodtrucks….


August 24th, 2012
8:30 am

The person who made the “complaint” against the food trucks is probably the same person who made the “complaint” against the Atlanta Eagle and more than likely “complains” about every little thing in his/her life. Some people are never pleased no matter what.

My bet is American Roadhouse

August 24th, 2012
8:40 am

I agree with ted


August 24th, 2012
8:40 am

I’m very glad the Atlanta Police Department has nothing else to do but bust food truck evil-doers. So all the murder and mayhem has been taken care of and they’ve moved on to bigger and better things, yes?


August 24th, 2012
8:41 am

raiding a food truck, dont they have better things to do? i dunno, gangs, drugs, home invasions….


August 24th, 2012
8:42 am

I don’t know why these hard working people even fool witht he City of Atlanta. Come on out to the burbs where we are smart enought not to strangle you in bureaucratic red tape.

Jon Watson

August 24th, 2012
8:43 am

@Joeintown – I still don’t know who file the complaint, but I will say that American Roadhouse closes at 3pm. Since they don’t compete with the food truck park, I’d be very surprised it they called in the complaint.

Not a racist

August 24th, 2012
8:45 am

There might be an occasional crime or two in Clayton County…..


August 24th, 2012
8:47 am

It’s not just food trucks. I know somebody who has been trying to start a tour of Atlanta. The permitting process has been onerous at best. It almost seems that at every corner they turn they have to get a new permit just to get started.
If the City of Atlanta ever wants to understand why more mom and pop businesses don’t open in the city, just walk down the hall and look at the permit process to start a business in Atlanta.


August 24th, 2012
8:50 am

Frank, if your thought is that the operations are not sanitary – think again. The professional standards for quality control are most likely better than those in your own kitchen. Give it a rest.

markie mark

August 24th, 2012
8:52 am

the only crime in Clayton county will be perpetrated by their new sheriff…..the citizens of Clayton must be so proud….


August 24th, 2012
8:56 am

Frank…people eat sandwiches made at a gas station!

Elvis Prez

August 24th, 2012
8:57 am

Having just spent 16 hours over 4 days sitting in the building department of COA, trying to obtain a permit for a small landscaping job. I find it amazing anything ever gets built in this town. The food truck permit debacle is just another example of the COA picking low hanging fruit. How about concentrating on fighting real crime, rather than stifling innovation and ideas that might actually make this city a better place to live. Total BS


August 24th, 2012
8:59 am

“All right…Shakedown!” ATL PD = Barney Fife

[...] Find the entire article byJon Watson at <here> [...]

Devie Dev

August 24th, 2012
9:05 am

Seriously City of Atlanta?!? I guess that if the money isn’t being secrelty fed into your pocket, you want nothing of it huh? Those operating the food trucks are just tyring to make a living and provide the citizens of YOUR city a new, hip alternative to dining out. Let them be. They drive a TRUCK. It has WHEELS there for, it is MOBILE. Change your policies/practices to those that make sense, if the definition of that word is known.

Alison of a Gun

August 24th, 2012
9:08 am

I thought about getting a food truck business started a couple years ago. Until I took the class by the Atlanta Street Food Coalition and learned how insane the rules here are. No thanks! I’ll stay at my desk job and then move to a real city some day…


August 24th, 2012
9:09 am

This is one reason it’s nice to live in Orlando now and not Atlanta. The food truck scene is insane here and you can get a lot of really creative, good food. Many towns support and ask for “food truck nights” here. Heck, we even have a ShipYard Brewing truck at a lot of our “roundups!” I’d love to see that go over up there in Atlanta! Bottom line, get with the times up there!


August 24th, 2012
9:09 am

It’s impossible to try and impart logic and reason when the CoA government is involved. Without a doubt it is the most inept government in the metro area. An embarrassment to the city

Dawg Will Hunt

August 24th, 2012
9:15 am

And the ridiculous war on Atlanta’s food truck community continues. Because, you know, there aren’t other, more pressing issues to deal with in this city. Hopefully this doesn’t affect the future of the Wednesday night food trucks in VaHi, as that is a prime location for pedestrians to be fed and the trucks to make some money. God forbid the economy be stimulated by offering a new, unique service that benefits citizens and businesses alike. Shut it down! Shut it down! Everyone go to Chili’s! Shut it down!


August 24th, 2012
9:26 am

Hey @Will – wake up man, over 10,000 morons in Clayton county voted that ass-clown Hill back into office – they deserve what they get for voting for him, unbelievable – and you wonder why Clayton county is so screwed up . . .


August 24th, 2012
9:27 am

Frank…… ans. your question of who would eat food from a truck; millions do, every day across the country. You need to get out more or re-check that ego!


August 24th, 2012
9:30 am

International city? Hardly. It’s the city too greedy to operate. Maybe if they offer to sponsor food trolleys running up and down Peachtree, they can get Federal funding to pay their “Fees?”


August 24th, 2012
9:40 am

@Frank. You obviously are not a very fun guy…food trucks are great. I would probably say to you…why does everything you eat get heated up in the microwave?


August 24th, 2012
9:44 am

Did we really need the word raid? Way to sensationalize the issue. The Atlanta Eagle incident was a raid. This is little more than a traffic stop.


August 24th, 2012
9:44 am

If the organizers brought a few panhandlers in, the City of Atlanta would have done nothing. The police would not even show up!


August 24th, 2012
9:47 am

Here’s an example of local government at work.

Last week, I asked a Park Atlanta employee to assist me operate a street parking meter because it refused to take money. Even she could not operate the broken machine. Next,she advised me advised me not to park in the spot. I decided to go home instead of spending money at my intended intown location.

Mel in Midtown

August 24th, 2012
9:49 am

My bet as to who called the cops is Matt Coggins at DBA BBQ. Although he’s 6 blocks from the food truck park, he bass been very vocal in that he thinks the food trucks hurt his business.


August 24th, 2012
9:55 am

Another reason to vote Kasim Reed out of office come election time.
He is the one is responsible for hiring all of these rookie revenue citation writers that is in turn chasing people a dn small business away from the City Of Atlanta!!!!
It’s no wonder why City’s like Austin, Tx are booming for it’s eclectic welcoming atmosphere without being hassled to patronize and to do business!
Bring the Food Trucks To Cobb County…..We welcome you!!!!
Food Truck would do well in Athens as well for the college town patronage much like Austin, Tx has created for itself!

KJ Beckham

August 24th, 2012
9:58 am

People eat food prepared in food trucks anytime they eat food at the fair


August 24th, 2012
10:19 am

The City of Atlanta must not have developed an efficient way to take money from the food truck vendors and stuff it into the pockets of the Jackson-Franklin-Reed mafia …yet.

Give them time. They will make this process much smoother and more lucrative for their friends in short order. At the expense of the truck operators, of course.

After all, it took them about 15 years to turn the airport into a hugecash cow for the J-F-R familia. A few little food trucks should only take half that amount of time..

This is weird - there are usually cops hanging out there

August 24th, 2012
10:31 am

I live two blocks away from the Va-Hi food truck location and have walked past the food trucks a few times as I run errands. Every time, I have seen uniformed police officers hanging out in the parking lot.

It’s not like the police didn’t know they were there…

I'm confused

August 24th, 2012
10:41 am

I don’t understand how the voters of Clayton County voted Victor Hill back in office, all of those charges & wrong doings. He also has the short man (Napoleon) Syndrome. Not too surprised the Former Mayor of D.C. was caught on camera smoking crack at a crackhouse & he was voted back in office. It seems some voters are drinking stupid juice before going to the polls.


August 24th, 2012
10:48 am

I, for one, would much rather the police worry the robberies and shootings in the area, instead of devoting their thin resources to the food trucks. The priorities of this city seem to be getting more and more backwards by the day.

Atlanta Kills Jobs

August 24th, 2012
10:52 am

The City of Atlanta government is a make jobs and make-your-friends-rich-with-government-contracts program run by incompetent, corrupt and racist politicians. Their main concern is to find ways to force money from you and put in their pockets. Frankly they look at business and average tax payers as a pantation owner looks at slaves, and don’t mind beating a few to death if it squezzes a few extra nickels out of the rest.

Elvis Prez

August 24th, 2012
11:40 am

Whilst in the department of buildings the other day, I was issued a citation for not submitting plans. While I was sitting in the chair (after an hour wait, and being only the 2nd person through the door that day) submitting plans. I’m still trying to make sense of that………….at least the guy didn’t have to drive very far.


August 24th, 2012
11:41 am

Here’s betting the “complaint” came from an Atlanta Police Officer driving down the road, and thinking to himself: “I wonder if they have all their permits?”

I feel safer already. Thank you, APD, for taking the bold steps and doing what must be done!


August 24th, 2012
11:57 am

ATL get a clue, like LA, Boston, street carts in NYC, even Nashville.


August 24th, 2012
12:22 pm

Oh Atlanta, how I wish I could love you. One of the biggest cities in the US and yet one of the most backward. I am out of here as soon as I can find employment in a real city…big or small.


August 24th, 2012
12:29 pm

Every morning I walk out the gate of the compound to the little cart that sells freshly steamed baozi. Yum! As I walk to the nearest metro station, I pass by other carts selling fried egg sandwiches, steamed buns, fresh noodles and stir fried vegetables. And the subway system (currently with nearly 900 miles of tracks and more on the way) goes nearly anywhere you want with about a 3 block walk max to any one station. In other words, right now I’m in a REAL city, not Atlanta.

Just ask 5 Seasons West......

August 24th, 2012
12:39 pm

About the city of Atlanta and how obtuse they are. They installed a system to catch and filter rainwater to brew with. The water was tested and determined to be far better than the COA water, however, COA shut down the use of the rain water for brewing by 5 Seasons for “health” reasons.

It’s a wonder any business can get a start in this city with the ever present imbeciles preventing any new, clever or enviromentally sound ides to happen.


August 24th, 2012
12:39 pm

Didn’t bribe the right folks, or at all; it’s a learning process. Anyway, we should talk about cities, and food, and the lack of ability of cities to feed themselves. For Atlanta, the food is shipped in from way far away, mostly California. Atlanta used to have an agricultural belt surrounding it like a donut, but with some exceptions in the southwest and east/southeast quadrants, the farmland has been converted to condominiums and Mcmansions. Whatever farming takes place, is largely for hay to feed horses (!). Very, very little farming to feed people. So, and think about this, people: what happens when a big earthquake causes a meltdowns in several nuclear plants on the west coast? And this is not such a wild idea these days, since it actually happened in Japan a year ago. It is entirely possible that all that cropland in California will get spoiled for decades, leaving Atlanta produce shelves bare and empty, with no local agriculture to fill the gap. And the reason there will be no local agriculture to fill the gap, is that hostile attitudes and actions drove local farmers away when they were trying to create a market in the city. Now, instead of taking shakedown money, the mayor should be actively coordinating the various agencies to go a little soft on business regs, in order to encourage the emergence of a new industry. Instead of playing whack-a-mole and pouncing on local ag initiatives whenever they pop up their heads.

And while we are at it.....

August 24th, 2012
12:44 pm

Lets talk about brewing. The hurdles one has to over come to open a brewiy is stifling economic growth in the city and state.

Asheville is kicking Atlanta’s ass in that category. Ashville, a small tourist town has managed to lure New Belgium and Sierra Nevada to open breweries there. Yeah, they were interested in Atlanta for the infrastructure(numerous highways),but found the process too daunting, and chose lil ol Ashville instead.

Thanks Atlanta, and Georgia for your backwards ways…..

Dr. J.

August 24th, 2012
12:47 pm

All the more reason not to patronize anything within the city limits of Atlanta, if for no other reason than to see the government’s tax base crumble. Taxpayer spite like that is the only way to bring an end to the corruption.

I know why......

August 24th, 2012
12:49 pm

None of the food trucks had donuts. Cops need donuts…..And a woman to slap around.

@ Dr J

August 24th, 2012
12:52 pm

That’s not a good idea because you punish the business first……They are already getting it from the city…….Why let the consumer punish them as well?