A hot dog at 2 a.m. soon may be as close as a downtown sidewalk.
A pair of Kansas University students have begun to lobby the city to change its street vendor regulations to allow downtown food carts to operate into the early-morning hours.
“We think students who go to the bars would be extremely happy to have something like that around here,” said Jason Mandel, a KU sophomore majoring in business.
City regulations require all street vendors to close by 9 p.m., and city code limits the location of street carts to just a few intersections and mid-block locations along Massachusetts Street.
Mandel and his partner — KU sophomore Justin Sharkan — want to stay open until 2:30 a.m., in order to sell to people leaving downtown bars after their 2 a.m. closing.
The men also wants to locate their street cart at the corner of Sixth and New Hampshire streets — which will put them near a late night bus stop operated by KU, and also near Abe & Jake’s Landing.
City Clerk Jonathan Douglass said the city is researching the request and plans to draft an ordinance for city commissioners to consider. Douglass, who said he didn’t have a timeline of when the ordinance would be presented to the commission, said he intends to limit the ordinance to just the one requested location rather than opening up the entire downtown area to late-night stands.
Mandel said he got the idea for the stand after visiting the University of Iowa and eating at a popular street cart called Marco’s.
“They had people lined up down the street, and I talked to them and realized they made a boatload of money just working a few hours a day for three to four days per week,” Mandel said.
Mandel said he anticipates the stand will include a grill and will offer hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled cheese, tacos and gyros, along with soda and bottled water.
The pair plans on keeping prices below $5 per item. Ideally, Sharkan said the men would like to open by the Final Four in early April, but he said he knows the city may not have their request processed by then.