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Port San Luis talks food trucks

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The Port San Luis Harbor District Commission directed staff to explore the concept of having food trucks on or near Harford Pier at the Feb. 25 commission meeting, but one restaurant owner openly opposed the idea.

GENERATING REVENUE In an effort to generate money for harbor operations, the Port San Luis Harbor District is exploring the addition of food trucks at Harford Pier. - FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • File Photo By Jayson Mellom
  • GENERATING REVENUE In an effort to generate money for harbor operations, the Port San Luis Harbor District is exploring the addition of food trucks at Harford Pier.

Barbara Powers and her husband, Butch Powers, owners of the Olde Port Fish & Seafood Company as of 2017, objected to the proposal during public comment, stating it would hurt their business.

Barbara said that her restaurant is open 365 days a year and she doesn't believe that a food truck will do the same.

"A food truck is going to come in when the sun is shining and everybody is here. That is when our pier is impacted to the max, and bring a food truck, and it will suck off of what we could have been making, is insulting," she said.

Since the closure of the Olde Port Inn restaurant—that was in business for 48 years—at the beginning of the year, Barbara said that she and her husband have gone into overdrive to expand their cooked food menu, which is going to cost them a lot of money.

"With the food trucks, I feel like it's a slap in my face," she said.

Jim Blecha, district commissioner and vice president, said the food trucks that he's aware of popping up in the city of San Luis Obispo are what he describes as niche—not a steak-and-potatoes kind of restaurant but grilled cheese or Korean barbecue. He sees the trucks as an option that is generally not specialized in or offered at nearby restaurants.

"I'm not a business man, but I don't think that any of our leases or license agreements say or there's a clause in it that says you won't have any competition," Blecha said.

According to the staff report, one of the district's current goals is to expand money-generating opportunities to support harbor operations that are consistent with affordability and accessibility for the public.

The idea of food trucks on or near Harford Pier could provide a replacement option of the loss of revenue and food options with the closure of Olde Port Inn. The current food options in Port San Luis include Olde Port Fish & Seafood Company, Mersea's, and Fat Cat's Café.

The commission voted 3-2 to direct staff to continue research on allowing food trucks at Harford Pier, the top ramp at Olde Port Beach, Avila Beach, Avila Pier, and Avila parking lot. The information will be brought back to the commission for further consideration at the March or April 2020 commission meeting. Δ

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