August 29, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria officials defend downtown food truck

The Krav food truck offers lunch Thursday in downtown Elyria. The mobile vending truck was parked outside City Hall in the shadow of Donna's Diner. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

The Krav food truck offers lunch Thursday in downtown Elyria. The mobile vending truck was parked outside City Hall in the shadow of Donna’s Diner. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — A chef on wheels rolls to a location and serves food from a mobile kitchen.

The food truck craze has hit Elyria.

For the second Thursday this month, Todd Berry set up in downtown Elyria with his Krav food truck to serve up one of five signature dishes to an eager lunch crowd. On this particular day, a spot near Elyria City Hall was the locale of choice. The menu consisted of a popular Korean barbeque pork loin with a kimchi Asian slaw and smashed avocados.

The prepared-fresh meal stood up well against the others — a Philly cheese steak, lamb or chicken gyro, veggie pita and grilled barbeque chicken thighs.

“It’s a good menu of flavorful food that we can prepare right here on the truck,” Berry said in between quickly assembling meals for a growing crowd of customers. “We have to do everything on the truck, prep and cook on the truck.”

Brick and mortar restaurants don’t have the luxury of picking up and relocating to where the business is best — Berry works in Lorain, Avon, Avon Lake and Vermilion.

Watching customers line the street a stone’s throw from where she has served food for years was a hard pill to swallow for Donna Dove, owner of Donna’s Diner.

“I don’t know why they would do that when we are having a hard time as it is,” she said. “If they were to move in every day, it would be one thing. It would be a constant draw to downtown that helps everyone. But once a week just brings people in, takes their money and then they leave.”

Dove said there was a noticeable difference in her Thursday sales, especially lunch deliveries. But instead of protesting, she said she plans to fight back.

“If they want to park their truck, then I will get my grill out,” she said. “Once people have my $5 roast beef sandwich with peppers and onions, they will want to know why they have never had it before.”

Berry, who operates the food truck with his partner, Kathy Swearingen, said he never wants to be seen as competition for established restaurants.

“We try not to step on anyone’s toes,” Berry said. “We give people an alternative. We bring something different into an area.”

Elyria may be a little late to the food truck trend, but the mobile eateries are so commonplace in larger urban areas that entire events are designed with the idea of numerous food trucks parking nearby.

In just a few weeks, Walnut Wednesday will return to downtown Cleveland. Sponsored by the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, the lunch-time event is all about live music from local bands and delicious food from numerous food trucks.

Maybe, Thursdays in Ely Square — when the Summer Concert Series kicks off weekly musical acts — could be that event for Elyria.

“They have a permit to be here all summer, one day a week,” said Elyria Safety Service Director Mary Siwierka.

Siwierka and Mayor Holly Brinda let the aroma of the food truck bring them to Court Street for lunch. Both walked away with veggie pitas for $7 each.

Brinda said local restaurants shouldn’t feel threatened by the food truck.

“I think it will help with what is already here,” she said. “It’s one day a week and for special evening and weekend events when other places are not open. We want to be able to provide food options for residents during those times when they are downtown enjoying events.”

Just as every restaurant has a story of its birth, the Krav food truck has a story as well.

Berry, of Avon Lake, said the idea was born out of corporate boredom. He got tired of being stuck inside all day, came home and told Swearingen he wanted to open up a food truck.

“I said yes. I didn’t even hesitate,” she said.

The truck, decorated with a scene from the French Riviera, was driven up from Fort Lauderdale. The couple is in their third season.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.

  • http://comradealan.com/ Alan Pugh

    Try selling the theory that food trucks hurt restaurants in downtown Cleveland, Ohio City, Tremont, and Lakewood. Food trucks build local food culture and hold restaurants to a higher standard, but they do not hurt business if you’re serving quality product. They create foot traffic and bring new faces to an area.

    This is a good change for downtown, and that includes a good change for current and potential restaurant/cafe owners.

    • David Pappas

      Agree

  • Larry

    This is a great idea for all. I think what they need to do is once or twice weekly, shut down Court Street and Middle Ave around the square. Let the local places like Donna’s and others serve there menus out on the street with tables and cooking going on around the park perimeter. Be a benefit for all.

    • Sis Delish

      Yep, especially in January, February and March… right?

      • Larry

        Well since it appears you don’t have a clue of what time of year it is, most COMMON SENSE people would know this is during the warm months. It’s mid April, not Jan-Mar…

      • Sis Delish

        Why not, are you disabled or something?

      • Sis Delish

        Those are the best month btw.

    • DHart

      Health violation.

      • Peter Aldrich

        They are checked. Do you know what you’re talking about?

        • DHart

          I’m just saying I don’t think the health dept will let you set up a table of food in the square and sell food.

          • DHart

            If they did, every one would do it. let me just grab my crock pot in a few roasters and I’ll cook you up some grub.

          • Mark B

            they let grungy people set up BBQ stands at the corner gas stations !!! how much do you want to bet they don’t even have a food vending license

          • Peter Aldrich

            Actually, you can’t on the square, from what I’ve been told, because of restrictions in the Ely deed. Why only the city can do the hot dog cart on the square…..

      • Joe Smith

        Like the Apple fest?

        • Peter Aldrich

          They are not ON the square for Apple Fest….on streets

          • Joe Smith

            And the post above was saying in the street so whats your point?

      • Larry

        Yeah, there are alot of things they would have to check on and follow with.

  • GreatRedeemer

    Why do they have to defend anything. The people going here are largely county and city employees. At least the food truck does not require free labor from its customers.

  • MsReader21

    I’m sorry to say that if Donna’s diner is having hard times ‘already’. Maybe its time to reevaluate who’s preparing the food. People will pay for quality. Most who have eaten there agree the food could be a lot better. I can’t wait to try the Krav next week.

    • Sis Delish

      Sounds like a job for Chef Ramsey.

  • Sis Delish

    This is not a new concept at all.

    In previous decades, the “chuck wagon” served blue collar worker with standard grub, year-round. The Elite must have upscale delicacies delivered, and only in fair weather, right to their front door.

    Brick & Mortar Donna’s Diner pays taxes to Elyria each and every day. Food Truck Vendors, while providing welcomed competition necessary for capitalism to thrive, at best are parasitic to a small downtown economy as seen in Elyria. Yes, they might be beneficial in larger more stable municipalities with high levels of foot traffic, but that is not the case in the Lorain County Seat.

    That it is a Once-a-Week Business is telling as to the health of the local economy. And, it seems, the Food Truck business in Elyria is currently being subsidized by government workers, who perhaps are the only customers who can afford this tiny comfort of life as the rest of the community declines accordingly. Bankers and Lawyers probably prefer the Brick and Mortar for its frugality.

    On a side-note, it quite refreshing to see a proud Socialist like Alan Pugh support capitalism, however minuscule he defines it. Mr. Gilbert would be happy, unless AP is still using company assets and time to blog.

    • Joe Smith

      If that van works in Elyria, it will have to collect and pay taxes on the money earned in town or am I wrong?

      • Sis Delish

        You are not wrong.

        • Sis Delish

          but maybe I am

    • http://comradealan.com/ Alan Pugh

      I’m going to break my own rule and respond to you, ignoring your last comment, because other than that, your comment really contributes to the discussion.

      The appeal of food trucks is the variety they can deliver to a community. You could have tacos from Fired Up on Tuesday, a double wide from Nosh Box on Wednesday, a gyro from KRAV on Thursday, and that roast beef sandwich from Donna’s on Friday if you’re so inclined. The fact that they’re only in that spot for a day isn’t an indictment of Elyria’s economy, it’s the nature of the food truck business.

      Though, on the flipside, I would say this first presence of a popular NEO food truck in downtown Elyria could be a sign that the economy is starting to wake up a bit. Home prices in Elyia have risen 3.3% in the last two years, the vacancy rate in downtown buildings has been lowered, and KRAV is signed up for the whole summer. It’s not an explosion of revenue, but it’s moderately good statistics nonetheless.

      If you’re a fan of capitalism, you have to be excited that Donna’s will be forced to compete and raise her standards. We have a long way to go, but I think you and I can agree that more business downtown can’t be a bad thing for residents, nor for the existing businesses that could use a little more foot traffic.

      • Sis Delish

        So Brilliant. You can ignore my last comment, because other than that, my comment really contributes to the discussion.

        You ebullience over nothing is remarkable. 3.3% over 24 month period from What Baseline? Vacancy Rates calculated by demolishing buildings to arrive at a more favorable vacancy rate? One Food Truck, spending a few hours in town, with a probable 50% Cash clientele generating little or no Sale Tax and a Threat to an Existing, Taxpaying Business to up your Game or Leave.

        All this based upon one mobile eatery making the news. Wow.

        • rob

          Sis delish, are you Donna dove?

          • rob

            One food truck coming to town for a couple hours a week is much less a deterrent to Donna’s Diner than her consistent complaints about the lack of support her restaurant receives. She needs to invest in a professional PR service so they can stop her complaining to the media. I loved the NY Times series and that was her chance to do it. Now it’s time to promote optimism about the future and be a good sport. Regardless of her personal opinion or business woes, her face time in public should be spent welcoming the competition and believing in her product. Guilt does not build long term sales.

          • Sis Delish

            What ever happened to all the support she received (PR as you call it) from Elyria’s Elite a few months back?

            Was that not a Professional PR Service given that the members of the Elyria’s Elite are the best Sales Force a small business can procure?

            Seems you are a bit behind the curve with your suggestion, eh?

          • Stan Hope

            Actually Sis, Rob’s point is spot on. Would reading it slower help you?

          • Sis Delish

            Stan Hope. Nobody on here is in need of a Cheerleader, so put your Pom Poms down and make your own point, if you can.

          • Godfather

            Because you have already proven your point, SisDumbish.

            Thanks!

          • Sis Delish

            Yes, the only point I was trying to get across was that I can cook food, since nobody eats it I need to tell everyone.

          • Stan Hope

            Mark Marcie/Sis….whatever username you wish to use today, we laugh at your ridiculous rants. That’s my point which by the way I can and did just make.

          • Sis Delish

            Yes, well maybe. I want people to know about my cooking, is that so hard?

          • Sis Delish

            ^^^
            Mark Marcie posting above.

          • Sis Delish

            I looked again, I was misquoted, this is not the person I think it is.

      • Sis Delish

        So you have a rule where you comment but do not respond.

        That is like talking and not listening….

        Either you are divorced or just a have a dumb spouse.

        • Sis Delish

          ^^^^^
          Another Mark Marcie Posting under a hijacked name.

          • Sis Delish

            I was not hacked, someone is trying to say I am hacked…

    • Sis Delish

      Since I think I am an anti-socialist, I am going to stop using electricity, the internet and all utilities all together. You will know who I am due to the large pile of trash in my front since nobody is picking it up anyone…due to my boycott.

      please come eat my cooking!

      • Sis Delish

        ^^^^
        That’s what Mark Marcie Looks like when he’s hijacking another poster’s ID.

        Who is Mark Marcie, I dunno, but his http://discqus.com/MarkMarcie shows up when you “research” his Disqus Identity…

        • Sis Delish

          I was wrong. That was someone else on my account. Do not let your kids know your password.

        • Sis Delish

          Do not click that link, my kid posted spam.

  • David Pappas

    The food truck is not hurting Donna it’s the poor service and cold food. Elyria needs this. And what they are serving on the trucks no local restaurant has. Quite trying to fight change Elyria this works great in many city’s. And one day it would be cool to see all kinds of food trucks in downtown Elyria.

  • MrRespect

    Please consider coming to Lakeview Park or other locations in Lorain.

  • Peter Aldrich

    I see no problem. If the local businesses are upset, maybe it’s because Krav is offering something that they choose not too, don’t want too, or can’t. Competition is a good thing. Remember the turnpike plazas when there was only one choice? It was basically like a Soicalistic type economy there. One choice….get what you get….pay exorbitant prices….and get out. Now, with multiple choices at the plazas, though prices still a little higher than off the turnpike generally, quality and choices are better….

  • Mark B

    Who wants to bet that the guy setting up a stand in the parking lot of Shopway has no permit to be selling Roses? Does this not take away from those who do it legally and pay to have a venders permit? Is the city not loosing money by him not paying for a permit? Does it not make the city look bad with Gypsies selling things on the street corners ?

    • Sis Delish

      I am trying to think of a comment because I have two cents for everyone.

  • JoyceEarly

    Competition and free markets are always good for consumers. Competition means you have to provide a service better than the next guy to get the business. Donna I suggest you eat at your competitors business and see what he’s doing right and modify what you are doing to compete. If people are eating there when they are in town it means they are settling for your place when the truck isn’t in town. This should put a fire under you to step it up!

    • Sis Delish

      Sorry, I have not been able to get around to comment. I feel like I must comment on everyone.

  • Donelle Moss

    Wow bitterness by Donna’s diner. The diner sells nothing that is even close to comparable. The public has spoken. I’ve heard the food is no good there. Time to change the menu if you want to attract more people. If the the same old thing isn’t working change it up stop pleading to the public and saying no one supports local businesses. Cascade cafe is doing great so is midway cafe. Be lucky they don’t come in five days a week and take the business.

    • Sis Delish

      Funny comment… especially as it pertains to the city of Elyria.

      Quote: “If the the same old thing isn’t working change it up stop pleading to the public”…

      Sounds like you are talking about the Democrat-Led Government of Elyria, Lorain and Lorain County… Stink Sandwiches all around.

      • Donelle Moss

        Actually I’m not saying any of that. I’m only saying what I said pretty clearly. No deep political anything at all. Sorry I couldn’t make something out of nothing.

        • Sis Delish

          A few months back, when the N.Y. Times spent time on Elyria’s tiny, tasteless, bad service, surviving food diner in town, I’ll wager you’all were beaming with civic pride.

          Now, the Diner is tossed to the Curb, literally in the form of a curb-parked Food Truck.

          • Sis Delish

            Not sure why this person took my profile.

      • Donelle Moss

        I’m simply speaking about food. But I do love how people can change what others say to try and cause a bigger debate than necessary. Have a great evening. I will at the truck Thursday to try it out. Not only attorneys and county seat employees can afford lunch.

        • Stan Hope

          Wow Sis, sure looks like people are catching on to your ranting ways. Your ignorance serves as entertainment for the rest of us. Thank you.

          • Sis Delish

            Just like the appearance of a Food Truck does for you and your neighbors..

            The Food Truck is coming, The Food Truck is coming!! We’re Saved!

          • Stan Hope

            And the entertainment from Sis keeps flowing. You are the master of nonsense.

        • Sis Delish

          I believe my comment is pertinent to the discussion which you obviously don’t.

          Funny how the arrival of a Food Truck of all things, provides so much hope and change for ya’all.

          • Donelle Moss

            sorry I was thinking your comment should pertain to my comment which is a comment you replied too. the only thing my, it had to do with the fact that the lady at donnas diner just complains about somebody coming in with a better product instead of improving her own. it’s kind of like the little kid that whines and somebody else has something that they don’t have. Usually when you respond to some buddies, and it should retain to what they said and not some other conversation you may be having somewhere else.

          • Sis Delish

            My Comment did pertain to the comment you made ” If the the same old thing isn’t working change it up stop pleading to the public” as it pertains to not only a single business owner of the City, but to the folks responsible for the current condition of the City, namely the Democrats.

            If doing the Same Old Thing (re-electing the same folks) isn’t working (obviously fewer Elyrians are working) change it up and stop pleading to the public…(Self-explanatory–stop relying on the Democrats to fix things..)

            See how it works?

          • Stan Hope

            Another political rant from Sis when in fact you are responding to someone’s comment that has zero to do with politics. I suppose the extra snow and cold this past winter had something to do with politics too? How about the Indians getting knocked out of the playoffs last year…politics also? Everyone is beyond tired of your small minded opinions.

          • Sis Delish

            Okay Mr. Big Mind, tell me Why there are NO fine dining establishments in Elyria? Is it because of Quality? Is it because some “outsiders” drove them out of business?

            Or, is it simply a statement that Elyria cannot and will not support its own.

            With the appearance of a Food Truck, the enlightened now can further stomp on the locals for not providing the quality of food and service demanding Elyrian’s want. Really?

          • Godfather

            SisDumblish is just an average moron that has not a clue.

          • Sis Delish

            I know, but I can cook. So I can make minimum wage.,..for the rest of my life.

          • Sis Delish

            Mark Marcie. We are about to pull your plug.

            SIgned: Your Mom

          • Sis Delish

            Mom called, said you are relevant here.

          • Otter

            A lofty goal, indeed.

          • Sis Delish

            This was posted by a 12 year old kid, please excuse any and all comments and statements made in it.

          • Bill

            You’re trying to engage in a intelligent conversation with one of the many CT trolls.

          • Sis Delish

            It is not, I finally read this some more.

      • Sis Delish

        I am sorry, someone took my profile and started all this. I am not political at all.

  • guest

    Go grab some sausage from the truck sis you sound like you can use some

    • Sis Delish

      I can prepare food. Can you?

      • Stan Hope

        Hey everybody, Sis says he can actually do something. I just chalked you up to being a whiner Sis.

        • Sis Delish

          Yes, I can cook food and type. Two things an orangutan can do.

          • Sis Delish

            Mark Marcie, Paging Mark Marcie…

            You Mom called. She wants to use the Phone Line, please hang up the Modem… AND STOP using other people’s online identities.

          • Otter

            But the orangutan can do them both at the same time.

  • stillsleepyeyes

    Wow all this over a food truck? sounds more like free publicity.. how about the couple that run the rib truck over on cleveland street most of the time? or the fish trailer that sets up…………….it’s not the first food truck in elyria……………so whats the hoopla………….just because they got a spot in the square…………..

  • Nick25

    Sounds like Donna doesn’t like competition. Sorry, babe- consumers DO.

    • Sis Delish

      Actually, Slick Nick, it isn’t about competition, its about the Humungous media play given to a Food Truck.

      Imagine for a moment that a foreign company came in and displaced workers at Invacare… what would the story look like?

      • Stan Hope

        This has nothing to do with Invacare or any foreign companies. Your exaggerated examples are worthless just as the rants you spew.

        • Sis Delish

          My exaggerated examples obviously keep you engaged in the same.

      • Nick25

        Actually, Sis- if you put out a better product you’ll succeed. Imagine if Invacare had no competition, what would drive them to make better products?

        “Media play” has NOTHING to do with anything- if that food truck sucked no one would stand in line on each of their visits and conversely if Donna had excellent food and excellent service no one would patronize the food truck.

        There is your introduction to capitalism.

        Any other questions, just ask.

        • Sis Delish

          Okay. Why isn’t the Food Truck in Elyria after sunset?

          • Nick25

            What the FREAK does that have to do with anything?????

          • Sis Delish

            Um, you did actually type: “Any other questions, just ask”…

          • Nick25

            Ok– here’s your answer– because Elyria is such a crime ridden 5hithole, it’s not safe to be there after sunset- how’s that?

            That has NOTHING to do with the topic though, but ask me anything, I obviously know everything!

          • Sis Delish

            BRAVO!!!

            You’ve just answered the Big Question to WHY Quality Dining escapes Elyria!

          • Nick25

            You make NO sense–the crime has NOTHING to do with who a costumer will patronize during the day. If Donna were better, she wouldn’t have to worry about a truck that had to leave at sunset. You HAVE to be an obamma voter, huh?

          • Sis Delish

            Costumers are for Theatrical Performances.

            I referred to Quality Dining as in fine restaurants serving Dinner, the meal late in the Day.

            My sources tell me it is a prime reason why they are absent from Elyria–not safe.

          • Nick25

            Who the hell can afford “fine dining” in Elyria? Just go eat at the food truck- it’s better food. Period.

      • rob

        Are you serious? The first article was about the food truck, the second article should have been Donnas chance to blow it off and tell everyone what she’s got going on. Instead, she chose to complain about this food trucks affect on Thursday lunch and she doesn’t think it’s fair. Really, at this point it’s her that’s ruining her business. She has spent too much time in the spotlight and she squandered it telling her sob story. Handicapping growth to cater a business that can’t sell anything but guilt is not helping the community grow.

        • rob

          A positive outlook in this article would have been the tipping point for me personally. I may have been at Donna’s this weekend giving it a try but I’m not patronizing a brick and mortar pan-handler. Think about the folks that have really tried to help her out eating there regularly, this has to be a slap in the face.

        • Sis Delish

          You are commenting on an Article which “should have been”??

          • rob

            You believe the food truck received too much media attention. It was a topic in 2 articles, an announcement of its plan in Elyria, and it’s impact on Donnas Diner or more broadly what it could mean for local food culture in the future. Instead of realizing this truck brought her a new opportunity to promote her business in local media, she was a poor sport and did what she has done every time she gets the chance.

  • Greg White

    Donna should not whine. She used the media for a pity party too many times. If I owned Donna’s, I know the food truck will be there from 11-2 on thursdays. I would run Thursday specials like 2.99 double cheeseburgers or 2 chili dogs for 3 dollars and make everything on the menu 4.99 or less and serve quality food. If you make it unprofitable for the competition they go away!

    • Godfather

      Sis IS Donna.

      Get a clue.

      • Greg White

        Well she just got free business advice on how to compete!

  • tala

    Would they prefer a Wal-Mart/Starbucks combo opening up across the street?

    They would be able to fight that off right?

  • Shakennotstirred

    Q. whats the difference between a toilet and sis delish?

    A. the toilets only full of it until you flush it

  • Mark Marcie blows Alan Pugh

    It’s Official.

    • golfingirl

      So who is Mark Marcie?

      • Mark Marcie blows Alan Pugh

        “Mark Marcie” is an Identity Thief.

        He’s easily Identified by the Number of Comments 792 and Upvotes 2296 on the profile he hi-jacks which differ from the Profile he mimics.

        The use of the term “Pro Troll” under his stolen profile name is another giveaway, as is the difference between Avatars, until he copies and steals that as well.

        Obviously, a nerve has been hit, otherwise there would be no need for his/her ongoing b.s.

        Eventually, it will all catch up with the thief, it always does.

        • golfingirl

          Could it be an unknown person here who constantly disagrees with your point of view?

          One with an IT background. One who was a “covert agent” for “squad” which sets up computers for a large national electronics retailer?

          Looking a little too obvious. I doubt you were randomly selected.

          Ironically that they preach tolerance, but when you disagree, they will go to whatever lengths to quiet you.

          Sounds a little illegal to me. At least I am sure an employer would be interested in this type of activity.

  • Liz E.

    “I don’t know why they would do that when we are having a hard time as it is,” Perhaps because Donna’s Diner is DISGUSTING! That place is filthy and absolutely needs to clean it up. People want to support local businesses but they have to actually be good! There is a market and Mr. Barry is filling it.
    I am new to the area and I’m often grossed out by food offered in the area. I welcome new and exciting options. Let’s face it, I think we can all benefit from some better (possibly healthier) options.
    I hope Mr. Berry doesn’t back down under the scrutiny of what seems to be a jealous and desperate business owner.

  • Don Rieger

    Being a former executive chef, it’s good to see the Elyria’s food scene a little more progressive and diverse with the areas food trucks! Man does not live by roast beef sandwiches alone! Kudos to Mayor Holly Brinda for defending the food trucks. It’s good to have a little fresh air blown into Elyria’s ho-hum food scene. Perhaps the food trucks could be on the square on a friday or saturday evening ! Just a thought ! What do yo think Mayor Holly Brinda ?