One of the greatest parts of traveling for a while is the feeling you get when you return home.
When you're away for more than a few days at a time, you miss out on your little bits of comfort. The diner down the block with the salty waitress who knows what you want before you do. Your daily routine of rolling over to your phone and checking fantasy football news or celebrity gossip first thing in the morning. The spot on the couch that you've massaged just perfectly over the years to fit the needs of your posterior. While it was nice seeing how others lived, returning to the lifestyle you know and love is even better. You've made your home your home for a reason.
Who would have thought you could get that same feeling of relief after a brief road trip into Riverside County?
If you spent any time in our neighbor to the southeast -- maybe for a road trip out to Palm Springs or Joshua Tree -- then you may have noticed the area was dramatically lacking in one specific regard: There's no food trucks over there.
This county-wide lack of food trucks isn't because the residents of the county, for whatever reason, just weren't into purchasing gourmet meals from places on wheels. It was because the law of the land got in the way in the form of an archaic law, Ordinance 580:
Adopted in 1980 and upheld in 2007, Ordinance 580 was passed in response to illegal street food vendors-- often referred to as "roach coaches"-- that were known for food poisoning, poor sanitation and other health issues.
While the legitimacy of such claims as rampant food poisoning and poor sanitation are, surely, to be questioned -- if some Riverside journalism student's looking for a fun project, head on over to the county records and find out what entities spent money making sure that the ordinance was passed in 1980, and then upheld later; odds are you'll find plenty of restaurants using their coffers to spread misinformation about these "roach coaches" -- it was enough to keep Riverside as the last bastion of brick-and-mortar restaurant purity in the state of California.
In a Board of Supervisors vote, Riverside County has decided to let food trucks loose. Now, this doesn't mean that food trucks will be able to run rampant throughout the county, so much as they're now caught up to the rest of the state.
Before the ordinance, food trucks were only allowed to sell six things: (1) steam-cooked hot dogs; (2) popcorn; (3) snow cones; (4) shaved ice; (5) coffee-esque beverages; (6) pre-packaged foods. But now? They're allowed to up their food game to include burgers, chicken, steaks ... all the creature comforts we already enjoy here every night in L.A. County.
Of course, this doesn't mean you should make a trip over to Riverside this weekend and expect food trucks as far as the eye can see. There's still the process of getting food truck owners to believe the area's a viable place to hawk their mobile wares. But, that's just a matter of time. With the kinds of people who take up residence out in the desert -- the ones who, let's say, have no need for a medical marijuana licenses since they have fields of their own supply -- it wouldn't be all that shocking for entrepreneurs to view the county as a market in desperate need of some late night munchies.
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