Archive for Friday, March 5, 2010

KU students looking to change city rule requiring food carts downtown to close by 9 p.m.

Pair wants to serve until 2:30 a.m., in more places

Two KU students are asking the city for permission to operate a late-night food stand in downtown Lawrence. The duo wants to target the after-hours bar crowd that frequents the area.

March 5, 2010


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.


ksjayhawk74 8 years, 2 months ago

Yes, there are not enough places to get food late at night on Mass St. there's room for these guy plus 2 more on Mass St. to all do very well. Hello, burrito truck...

scribe 8 years, 2 months ago

Yikes! Wouldn't that make it very convenient for robberies? Would these entrepreneurs then need the protection of Lawrence police? There seems to be a lot of targeting of students after the bars let out already...

bigdave 8 years, 2 months ago

The police would have to be there every night for the drunk fights in line and the robberies!!!

bigdave 8 years, 2 months ago

none2 (anonymous) says… Why did they have such a silly rule in the first place?

Drunk fights and robberies!!

bigdave 8 years, 2 months ago

ChiHawkInKS (anonymous) says… Where do you people get the idea that this will just cause fighting and robberies? This isn't downtown Detroit. I never saw fights outside the pizza stand by Fatso's. Whatever happened to that place anyways?

You must not go downtown at 2am! And that pizza was nasty!!!

livetocook 8 years, 2 months ago

I'm not trying to be Debbie Downer but, good luck lobbying the KDHE for a food vendor license.

whats_going_on 8 years, 2 months ago

Maybe that would decrease the extremely IMPORTANT and serious fast food line fights in drive thrus? Maybe students who walk to the bars then wouldn't have to drive to get food? Maybe this would help out a few hot dog vendors who are struggling to make ends meet (I'm sure there aren't any of those) Who knows.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 2 months ago

kyhawk, you tried Aladin's Cafe? (sp?) in 1000 block mass? gyros good.

Tyson Travis 8 years, 2 months ago

I live out of town, haven't been a part of this scene, but after re-reading the article and the posts, am surprised that the obvious wasn't mentioned...people have been imbibing in bars until the wee hours, here's a chance to offer them some non-alcoholic food and beverage cooling-off time before they set off for home. Hopefully everyone who has been imbibing will have a designated driver or take the bus to keep everyone safe. A little food late at night should provide a sobering-up break and keep the streets safer for everyone. Even bad pizza or burritos with a brief break are preferable to climbing in a car and driving someplace else to find food. This will also pay dividends for basketball celebrations which I hope will happen in a few weeks.

youarewhatyoueat 8 years, 2 months ago

I think this is a great idea. When I lived in Westport there were a few food stands and it was awesome.

blackfox 8 years, 2 months ago

This is a good idea, as long is there are enough police officer around to keep these vendors from being harrased. I used to go to Westport, and those poor street vendors always had to put up with drunk idiots. I felt so sorry for this one guy one night. Drunk people are MEAN! These vendors are just trying to make a living or extra income. And provide a quick and easy bit of food for drunk people.

somebodynew 8 years, 2 months ago

@blackfox - And that IS the problem with this idea. I know it sounds good, but you have stupid fights at drive thrus now, what makes people think that having drunks stand in line is going to be any better???? I just think there will be a lot of problems with this. But, maybe I am just a pessimist when thinking about drunk students, late night, and food.

AND, who is going to pay for all the clean up????? Downtown becomes a mess as it is with all the liter and trash. Now you add in walk-up food stands.

But, on the plus side, I can see a "night shift" of beggers and transients so that there can be more opportunities for them to harrass people !!!! Yeah, equal "employment" endevours !!!

damnitimpissed 8 years, 2 months ago

I don't see bros having any more fights in line for a sandwich than they already do on the sidewalk. whats_going_on and jazzttt both make the excellent point that the post-bar crowd are much better on foot and with bellies full of gyro than in a car on their way to taco john's.

And if there are problems with belligerent hunger, I'm sure it wouldn't take much out of their profit to hire a security guard for $10 an hour.

I would be so happy to see food carts downtown. I would be even happier if one of them was a DONER KEBAB STAND.

DONER KEBAB!!!! NOW!!!!!!!!!

olmsted78 8 years, 2 months ago

Jimmy Johns at 2 AM on a Thurs-Sat. Pretty sure it's usually packed. Don't know about fights...probably been a few. At least we don't have the after hours brawling that i've seen over in Columbia the last couple years-- It's become a nightly thing over there lately supposedly. Must be all that pent up rage of never really getting it done on the hardwood....

Food here on the street late night seems like a no-brainer in a lot of ways to me. Make the clean-up tight though, and have a couple officers nearby.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 2 months ago

This is a great idea. KU students who want to work to get their money. What is wrong with that? Should we not be encouraging the work ethic in our children and grandchildren?

I don't see any good reason why it has to take so long to get something like this though the system.

There is no good reason why some are so negative about this and so intent on finding something wrong with it.

Some of the drunks could eat their fill and then go swimming in the nearby Kaw without waiting thirty minutes. Then dozens of first responders would have to fish them out and it would cost the taxpayers thousands upon thousands of dollars.

And, what if there is a car wreck at the same time and they can't get to them because everyone is down at the river and dozens of people die in cars?

There is just no end to the enormity of what could be the results of having just one food cart outside of Abe and Jake's.

Oh, what if wild animals are drawn to the scent of the food?

JKBagby 8 years, 2 months ago

Great Idea. My favorite in Austin at 3 AM is Satan Pizza. Twisted looking dudes cranking Death Metal and selling large slices of awesome pizza.

ScottyMac 8 years, 2 months ago

"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.

Boatload? Hmm. Why have I always thought the word was "buttload"?

somebodynew 8 years, 2 months ago

@damnitimpissed - I agree !!!! And what we used to affectionately call "spit burgers" - those little wads of grilled lamb on pita with vegies at 1-2 in the a.m.

Mera Habba (sp???)

jumpin_catfish 8 years, 2 months ago

I had a great lizard on a stick in Puerto Rico once from a street vendor. It was great! Seriously, the guy I was with told me it was chicken on a stick to trick me into eating it but I ate three.

bblbfolks 8 years, 2 months ago

So what,now you're too good for Taco Bell like the rest of us commoners?

Kontum1972 8 years, 2 months ago

spider monkey on a stick...yummmm...slurrrrppppppppp...

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