“I’m not angry,” Crimma insists. But the culinary genius behind the popular food truck That’s Nacho Cheese, is lying through her meth-ruined teeth. She’s really pissed off, as are several of the more reputable automobile-based restaurateurs that are supposed to fill spaces at a new parking garage built into the meticulously restored facade of the Nineteenth Century Club on Union Av.
“What I am is disappointed,” Crimma continued because nobody was brave enough to tell her the interview was over. “There was an understanding between the city and numerous small business owners that this new garage would be for food trucks and food truck customers only, and so a lot of us were shocked and dismayed to see plans that include what appears to be a brick-and-mortar McDonald's built right into the ground level of the garage.
“On one hand, I recognize the value of having an anchor business like McDonalds,” Crimma shouts unreasonably. “It just seems like this was inserted behind our backs and at the eleventh hour so there would be no time for anybody to negotiate.”
“I’ve got no problem with McDonald’s entering the food truck market if that’s what they really want to do,” says award winning chef Sayden Dunn of the upscale TruckDucken Diner. “But if they want to be a part of this food truck parking garage they need to at least respect the integrity of the potentially mobile business model it was created to accommodate.
“Frankly, if they want to slap some golden arches on an old school bus with no wheels, I’m fine with that,” Dunn says. “It would feel like they were at least meeting us somewhere near the middle.”
The McDonald’s flap is just the latest hitch in a plan that had been devised as an alternative to an earlier proposal to use a large crane and magnet to stack a similar number of food trucks vertically in the parking lot of Urban Outfitters on Central.
“This would have been the largest food truck tower east of the Mississippi River and an overnight tourist destination,” says Midtown resident and large magnet-crane operator Benny Hanna, a vocal opponent of the food truck parking garage.
“The food truck tower is an idiotic idea,” says regular food truck patron Kai Yiyo who says he will definitely use the parking garage even if it houses a stationary fast food restaurant. “Times are changing and people need to get with the program because the younger generation doesn't like its food trucks parked on top of each other. They want them either in a garage, or crammed together on a big slab of asphalt, or randomly scattered all up and down Summer Ave."
Additional reporting by The Wiseguys