Food to go: Mobile meals should be on Pittsburgh's plate

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There are a lot of ways to spice up a city's urban core, and food trucks do it quite literally.

Right now, the red tape in Pittsburgh is too sticky and the rules too restrictive to encourage a proliferation of the convenient open-air options that are enlivening the food scenes in other American cities.

By updating its regulations, Pittsburgh could follow in the footsteps of hot spot Portland, Ore., where food writer Marlene Parrish recently went on an eating binge with her extended family. Roughly 500 vendors are scattered throughout that West Coast town, so the visitors from the east were able to sample fresh takes on waffles, Tex-Mex dishes, Korean barbeque, sweet dessert concoctions and more, with price tags of $3 or $4 for breakfast and $6 or less for lunch.

An umbrella group called PghMobileFood just started holding workshops to inform and encourage development of these small businesses here, and Pittsburgh Councilman Bill Peduto is in the process of drafting legislation that could allow for more food trucks than the handful now in operation.

It's time to clear the road of legal obstacles and provide a welcoming atmosphere for food trucks to expand on-the-go eating options without imperiling brick-and-mortar restaurants.

opinion_editorials


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