Food Truck Parks Face Obstacles in Bringing Booze to the Masses

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Photo courtesy My Food Park HTX
You can bring your own booze to the park, but vendors can't sell it.
You know what would go perfect with that Shorty Mac from H-Town StrEATS? Or with that Kimchi Koagie from Koagie Hots or something spicy and Cajun from St. John's Fire?

Beer. Beer would go great with food truck fare. I imagine cocktails probably would, too. And I know I want wine with my cupcakes and cookies from our sweet trucks in town.

Of course the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission prohibits roving food trucks to sell any sort of alcohol, because they don't meet the requirements to do so.

According to TABC permitting laws, in order to sell any sort of alcohol -- beer, wine or liquor -- a business must have a Retail Dealer's License. This license authorizes businesses "to sell beer for consumption on or off premises in a lawful container to the ultimate consumer but not for resale. Requires adequate seating area for customers."

So individual food trucks, being mobile and whatnot, can't provide seating for clients, and therefore can't sell booze. But what about food truck parks, which don't go anywhere and generally have ample seating and parking?

That gets a little more tricky. Just ask Liz Hale of My Food Park HTX.

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Photo courtesy My Food Park HTX
Don't expect much more than soda at Houston food truck parks.
The food park, which opened in early November, has been promising to have an on-site bar since Hale and her husband, Jerry, first came up with the idea to open a park in a three-acre piece of land out on Highway 6 near I-10. There are a few things standing in the way of that goal, though.

"Six thousand dollars," Hale exclaimed, clearly eager to talk about the lack of alcohol at her park thus far. "You have to pay TABC $6,000 for the first year in order to get a license, and then it's around $2,000 every year after that."

You also have to have two working restrooms, it turns out -- one for men and one for women. These restrooms must be hooked up to actual, functioning plumbing. No porta-potties allowed.

"We have a few port-a-potties that we keep very clean," Hale says, "and we have one real toilet, but it's hooked up to a well in the back, and we don't want it running all the time."

The expense of putting in another toilet and hooking it up to the city's water supply coupled with the fees associated with permitting is prohibitive for a small food truck park like My Food Park HTX. Of course, the profits from selling alcohol on-site could easily raise enough money, but that's a bit of a catch-22.

Location Info

H-Town StrEATS

, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

My Food Park HTX

800 Highway 6 S, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Koagie Hots

, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

St. John's Fire

, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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15 comments
sbreakra
sbreakra

what about those places that sell daquiris to go at a tiny drive through...they have no bathroom or place to sit?

goldie1102
goldie1102

Thank you everyone for weighing in with all of your comments!! We really appreciate it


Liz Hale

My Food Park HTX

goldie1102
goldie1102

Thank you everyone for your comments!!  I really appreciate you weighing in!!

scndbox1
scndbox1

EaDo has a beer stand.  Bought a Blue Moon last Saturday. 

metatronarchetype
metatronarchetype

People who can't enjoy themselves, good company, and/or a good meal without getting drunk are pretty pathetic.

tee-wee
tee-wee

Just an idea... set up your business so you have an actual stream of revenue that is not solely dependent on soft drinks. If you're not charging the trucks, to whom you provide a service, it just doesn't seem that this was very well thought out.

SirRon
SirRon

Oh, wait. I had to click to page 2 to find out I can bring my own? I'm cool then.

tenmen
tenmen

Why dont we have an ALCOHOL DRINKING LICENSE??  You can not buy alcohol without a license, have to go on line or to the DPS and take a test yearly, pay a fee so you can drink. Those convited felons, DUI's, domestic abuse wont get one, at least for a stautory period of time and then have to pay a sizeable bond for your drinking license.

kevin818
kevin818

Call the food park a "picnic" and get a temporary permit.  Worth doing to test the waters, so to speak, to see if enough customers will buy alcohol to make it worthwhile.

goldie1102
goldie1102

@tee-wee we also have open mic night and movie nights, and were also building events out there if you would like to give us a hand please do so, more great minds together make awesome stuff happen :)

WestSideBob
WestSideBob topcommenter

@tenmen that's not only an outstandingly intelligent solution, it would be a HUGE revenue generator for the state of taxes ... err ... Texas.  I guess this shows our politicos have no imagination or initiative to change the status quo.

goldie1102
goldie1102

@kevin818 Thank you for your idea :) we have done a test run and know beer will do great out there :) just gota scrounge up the fundage!!

c3770093
c3770093

Seriously. Do a one-off, specific, limited time event and you should be able to have beer for it (like summer-fest). Test the waters, fund-raise for the install, fund-raise for "Open the Taps" to change the law to make it easier, whatever.

In general, though, I think the title is misleading. It's not food truck parks that are facing obstacles, it's this one. And only the same obstacles that have every other bar faces: running water in the bathrooms and a license. It sounds Ike someone had a great idea and then didn't do any of the basic planning needed to actually get set up (figure out how much those things would cost, get a loan, get investors, all those standard "business plan" things).

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