15 Finds Out: Are food trucks safe?

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Getting lunch or dinner off a food truck is becoming more and more popular around northeast Indiana. The restaurants on wheels are popping up all over. In fact, five new food trucks opened in Allen County just this summer.

“I think it provides a whole different culinary experience in Fort Wayne,” Kylee Shirey said after finishing her lunch from a food truck in downtown Fort Wayne. “The food’s really different and you can try a lot of new things.”

From pizza to tacos to burgers to jambalaya to gourmet grilled cheese, when the food trucks gather, a restaurant row is created with something for every appetite.

“It adds a cool, hip vibe. We are part of the times and part of this culinary revolution taking part in our country,” Jeremy Miner, who went to a food truck for lunch, said.

While the food truck phenomenon seems to be exploding in Fort Wayne, Patrick O’Sullivan, said it’s nothing new.

“This place just is finally getting the boom of it,” O’Sullivan, the owner of Big Apple Pizza, said. “Go to the east or west coast and they’ve been there for 20 years, there are pizza trucks and hot dog carts on every corner of Manhattan. It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s good.”

O’Sullivan, who moved to Fort Wayne five years ago, bought Richard’s Bakery on Wells Street and opened Big Apple Pizza in the same building. He added the food truck in August selling pizza by the slice.

“We’re the only ones doing New York style, true New York style. I was born and raised there, so I know what New York style is,” he said.

Big Apple Pizza joins around a dozen other trucks at events all over the region.

“This year has just exploded,” Lori Koble, owner of the Who Cut the Cheese? food truck, said. “You can do fun things and fun menu items.”

Koble sold her diner in Decatur to open her grilled cheese food truck earlier this year. While you might think new food trucks might not be welcomed by the veterans, it’s actually the opposite.

“When you have seven or eight trucks lined up, we each do better than if one is just parked on one street and another is parked on another street,” Dan Campbell, the owner of Affine food truck, said.

Affine’s been serving up sandwiches and fries since July 2012.

“It’s a large city and we’re not at saturation yet,” Campbell said.

While the trucks travel all over, they are still regulated and inspected by the health department. NewsChannel 15 pulled the latest inspection reports for more than a dozen popular food trucks. Six trucks had a total of 14 violations noted.

“There are two big categories: facility and food,” Steve Niemoeller, the director of the food and consumer protection division at the Allen County Health Department, said. “For facility, we look at floors, walls, ceilings and equipment to make sure things are clean and in good repair. Then we check food storage, food temperatures, are they using thermometers and gloves and hand washing, that sort of thing.”

In a 15 Finds Out report, Alyssa Ivanson reviews the inspection reports with the health department, and takes the violations to the trucks. Find out what trucks were on the list and what the violations were in Truck for Lunch, Wednesday at 6 p.m.


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