LYNN — The City Council approved a request from Lynnway Liquor Mart to have a Texas BBQ food truck on their property on Tuesday night.
Cliff Ansara owns the liquor store, at 702 Lynnway, and his mother, Margaret Ansara, owns the full property.
With Simoniz Car Wash next door to Lynnway Liquor, Cliff Ansara said most of its employees and patrons would go into the liquor store during car details and lunch breaks and eat all of their junk snacks. The food truck would give them a healthier option, he said.
“All we’re trying to do is give somebody something because there’s nothing,” Ansara said.
The council voted, 9-1, to allow a food truck to operate on the property, which will be a partnership between the Ansaras and Ivan Moreno and Gilberto Nonato, of Hecho en Mexico Taqueria and BBQ food truck. The truck’s menu will consist mainly of Texas BBQ.
With the approval, the Lynnway property becomes the second location in the city that will feature food trucks. IronBound’s Food Truck Emporium opened downtown on Mount Vernon Street last year.
Ward 2 Councilor Rick Starbard spoke in opposition to allowing a mobile food truck on the property unless there could be a level playing field for other food businesses in the city, which have to pay commercial property taxes to operate.
The fee for a food truck is $100, but Starbard said the owner of John’s Roast Beef & Seafood, for instance, pays about $12,000 a year in commercial property taxes.
Food trucks are able to roll in at peak times and take away business from other nearby food establishments, Starbard said.
“This isn’t about food trucks,” Starbard said. “It’s about our businesses being the backbone of our community. I don’t think it’s fair to put them at a competitive disadvantage.”
But Ward 5 Councilor Dianna Chakoutis, whose ward includes Mount Vernon Street, said she’s seen that people who make use of the food trucks there still eat at the other restaurants downtown.
“We’re in the stone age in the city sometimes,” Chakoutis said. “We’re the last one to get anything. Food trucks are nothing new. They’ve been around for quite a few years now and we’re finally getting them in our city.”
The trucks have become popular in other cities and towns, and seem to be what people are asking for, added Ward 7 Councilor Jay Walsh.