Food trucks get no guarantee in Norfolk

Posted at 11:45 PM, Mar 10, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-10 23:45:12-04

Norfolk, Va. - Luke Donkle left his full-time job to serve hot dogs out of his truck, even with no guarantee he'd be able to do so in Downtown Norfolk.

"It's kind of an experimental," Donkle, owner of Granby Street Hot Dogs said. "We'll see how it goes."

The three trucks from last year are back, leaving just three lottery spaces for everyone else.

"That's tough," Donkle said. "I get if they actually stuck with it through all of last year. I can see why they would be allowed to stay. It kind of makes sense. But I don't know. That's tough. I see both sides of it."

Last year, the city allowed six food trucks to operate downtown. This year the plan was to split between returnees and new trucks.

The lottery is just for the new guys since only three of last year's trucks want in this go-round. Evan Harrell runs Panavore, one of the city's first food trucks. He says for the new guys who don't catch luck in the lottery, it doesn't mean their business is dead.

"Just in the last year, the food truck movement has created businesses, created opportunities for people and I'm really excited to see the other trucks come out this year," Harrell said.

So far, the city says only Donkle has applied for a new spot. The lottery for food trucks runs until March 21st.

Donkle has spent thousands hoping he's picked to get a valuable spot downtown, a food fate left up to chance.