The owner of the Jibaro food truck is hoping to change an ordinance prohibiting food trucks from setting up shop on public property in Lakewood.
Elvis Serrano, who recently opened the brick-and-mortar Jibaro Pit Stop in Lakewood, spoke at the Lakewood City Council meeting on Dec. 17 to change the minds of city council members.
The next day, he met with Ward 3 city councilman Shawn Juris to discuss the proposal.
Serrano was an early pioneer of food trucks in Cleveland, launching his in 1993. He sees the food truck industry working in cooperation with area restaurants — not hurting them.
“At first, restaurants in Cleveland didn’t support it either,” said Serrano, noting that neighboring restaurants were threatened by food trucks, but soon realized that they helped bar business and made entire neighborhoods food destinations.
“It didn’t happen overnight.”
But food trucks shouldn’t start their engines just yet.
“I don’t think we are at a stage to do anything legislatively yet,” said Juris. “I think there are a few different ways that food trucks can operate and I don’t think (the ordinance) is necessarily anything that needs to be changed.”
“Downtown Cleveland is quite a but different than Lakewood.”
Dru Siley, the city's director of planning and development, said that a city ordinance prohibits food trucks from operating on public streets, but they are allowed to set up in private commercial parking lots with permission from the owner.
“There are options for them,” Siley said, pointing to events such as Light Up Lakewood as potential opportunities for food trucks like Jibaro.
“It sounds like they are very respectful of brick and mortar businesses, but we will follow up with them and explore some of their ideas. I think council is open to new ideas. We’ll see where this conversation goes.”
Serrano said he believes that Lakewood City Council “was receptive to the idea” and plans to follow up with officials at Lakewood City Hall.
“I think it will take some time, but I am hopeful that it will happen in Lakewood,” he said. “We will see what happens.”