Archive for Monday, September 13, 2010

Another downtown property owner expresses concerns about late-night food cart operations

A proposal for a food cart at 10th and Massachusetts streets is set to go before city commission tomorrow, and landlords for nearby buildings and restaurants are not thrilled about the idea.

September 13, 2010, 3:58 p.m. Updated September 14, 2010, 12:25 p.m.

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The idea of late-night food carts on Massachusetts Street may have an early demise.

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Last Stop Snack Shop correspondence ( .PDF )

A pair of Kansas University students are ready to open up the city’s first post-midnight food cart operation, but City Hall leaders now are receiving complaints from more traditional downtown business owners.

Downtown landlord Doug Compton has urged city commissioners to reject a permit that would allow the Last Stop Snack Shop to open a food cart business in front of the former Masonic Temple building at 10th and Massachusetts streets.

Compton leases space to three restaurants in the block — Encore, The Pita Pit and Pyramid Pizza — that he said shouldn’t have to compete with a food cart that will operate cheaply on publicly owned property.

“These three entities have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in investment in their businesses,” Compton wrote in a letter to commissioners.

Nick Carroll, owner of the Replay Lounge, 946 Massachusetts St., expressed concerns about operating the food cart at the northeast corner of the intersection.

"I believe it will increase my liability and will increase extra work for my staff in terms of security and cleanup," Carroll said in a letter to the city commission.

Carroll also submitted a petition with signatures from owners and managers of businesses near 10th and Massachusetts, saying they support the Last Stop Snack Shop, but do not want it to be on the northeast corner of the intersection.

But Jason Mandel said he and his partner’s proposed street cart business — which would sell hot dogs, hamburgers and other quick-snacks — would be similar to many other late-night food stands that operate in college communities. Mandel said it would provide a good service to bar patrons who want food but shouldn’t be driving to get it.

“Competition is just part of business,” Mandel said. “And we’re going to be a tiny little food stand. We’ll be taking a very small portion of anybody’s business.”

Mandel also said the business doesn’t have an unfair advantage over the existing restaurants because the city does require food carts to have insurance and to pay a monthly rent — $300 per year plus $50 a month — for the use of the sidewalk.

“On a per square foot basis, it is quite a bit,” Mandel said of the rent.

The issue may end up being bigger than just one food stand. City Clerk Jonathan Douglass said he’s received about a dozen inquires from other people who want to open up mobile food businesses that would be run out of vehicles or trailers.

Douglass said entrepreneurs have inquired about selling from parking spaces on Massachusetts Street, from parking lots at the East Hills Business Park, and from on-street parking in residential neighborhoods such as Oread.

City code would have to be changed for any of those operations to legally exist, and thus far staff members are recommending against making the code changes.

“In the downtown area, we envision complaints from neighboring businesses that wouldn’t want that kind of activity right outside their door,” Douglass said. “In residential areas, it just seems like an activity that wouldn’t be compatible.”

City commissioners, though, have opened the door for the late-night sidewalk vendors. This spring commissioners approved a change in the street vendor ordinance that allows carts to stay open until 2:30 a.m. Previously carts had to close by 9 p.m.

But commissioners at that time did not approve a license for Mandel’s specific operation. City code gives commissioners the authority to reject a license if nearby property owners object.

Mandel — who already has spent “several thousand dollars” to buy his cart — could apply to locate on another corner if commissioners reject this request.

City commissioners are scheduled to talk about both the food carts and mobile food vendors at their 6:35 p.m. meeting Tuesday at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.

Comments

JayhawkAlum03 4 years, 9 months ago

So he put the cart before the horse (yep, sorry, too easy!) and spent "several thousand dollars" to buy the thing before he knew that he could legally use it? That and the comment about providing a service to people who shouldn't be driving makes me wonder about the strength of their business plan considering there are plenty of walkable restaurants right there that he appears to have not noticed.

Other than that, sounds like an interesting idea. Not sure what I really think of the concept in general.

eatlocalfood 4 years, 9 months ago

From das' posting below it sounds as if the applicant is required to own a KDA licensed mobile unit before they can become a street vendor: "A licensed street vendor must prove current State of Kansas Health Department Certificate of Approval if selling food or non-alcoholic beverages, and must prove any other licenses or certificates that are required by the State of Kansas." From: http://www.lawrenceks.org/city_code/s...

SeaFox 4 years, 9 months ago

Yes, plenty of walkable restaurants... like the Pita Pit and Pyramid Pizza. Wonder if Compton's views would change if restaurants he leases to weren't the ones to lose business in this whole thing.

Also: Hot Dogs and Hamburgers. I don't think you can get either of those at the Pita Pit or Pyramid, so they aren't exactly in competition except for dining dollars in general. I know if I was hungry and wanted a burger the Pita Pit would not even be up for consideration, even if there were no burger stands open in town at that time of night. I would sooner go to a grocery store and buy a pound of ground chuck and make one at home.

Jeff Cuttell 4 years, 9 months ago

They are talking about later at night when those restaurants are closed. Let the guy open his stand. These businesses should quit complaining and promote themselves instead of always worrying what someone else is doing. If they'd advertise some promotions, it might just get more people to come downtown.

Kendall Simmons 4 years, 9 months ago

Those businesses aren't complaining!! It's their landlord, Doug Compton. And, as I've said elsewhere, if he could, he'd own the Masonic Temple and rent it to the competition himself.

geekin_topekan 4 years, 9 months ago

Here's an idea. Why don't we just give whatever pocket money we have left over after our day and give it to Compton! After all, he is all about creating a prosperous Lawrence.

I am sure that we can get a few council members to agree to that and put it on the law books.

Heck, we could make a giant piggy bank in the shape of a Jayhawk (which would make it a HAwkbank) and we could just drop whatever money we have to spend on things we want to sopend them on and just give it to Compton.

sourpuss 4 years, 9 months ago

If Compton feels so sorry for the businesses paying him a large portion of those "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in rent, why not give them a break on the rent? Oh. Right.

1arrowheaddrive 4 years, 9 months ago

All hail the great and wise Compton. The developers will surely save us from a poor local economy.

puddleglum 4 years, 9 months ago

yes yes, here ye here ye: whatever they want is good for everybody cuz it is in everybody's best interest....maybe they will throw us paupers some shillings? all praise compton!

Richard Heckler 4 years, 9 months ago

Now certain business people who preach "Free Market" are demanding protection from local big government..... hmmmmmmm.

What's up with that?

puddleglum 4 years, 9 months ago

excellent post. come save us big government! go away, big government, I'm trying to include a tif tax over here! give a developer a break, willya?

gl0ck0wn3r 4 years, 9 months ago

Fascinating. You love big government. You are as hypocritical as Compton, but at least Compton puts money into the community.

overthemoon 4 years, 9 months ago

You make a lot of assumptions about what people 'love' based on your own narrow perceptions.

gl0ck0wn3r 4 years, 9 months ago

No, I make them based on his long posting history that almost always advocates increases in government.

puddleglum 4 years, 9 months ago

since when did I start loving big government? Or are you just mad because you own a junky ol' glock?

"at least Compton puts money into the community." that's funny, I haven't seen one dime yet.

anybody else care to chime in on this one?

"You are as hypocritical as Compton" so we are both hypocrites? most women can do better than that.

fairplay 4 years, 9 months ago

Hate to agree with Merrill since he's usually far too extreme, but this is a valid point (save for the adjective "big" when referring to a local government -- it's inherently contradictory).

booyalab 4 years, 9 months ago

Most people who know economics, even the ones who advocate a free market, will be the first to tell you that businesses hate competition and many will do anything to squash it. That's not news.

Paul Geisler 4 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

ksjayhawk74 4 years, 9 months ago

Oh no, you can totally get a hamburger from Encore at 2:15 AM.

Paul Geisler 4 years, 9 months ago

Apparently my first comment hit a nerve. Doesn't everyone in town already know about a particular greedy individual in this town? Is THAT comment offensive?

As for your comment about Encore, I don't see burgers on their menu:

http://encore-cafe.com/menu.html

And they close at midnight on Friday & Saturday:

Sunday - Wednesday : 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM Thursday : 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM Friday - Saturday : 11:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Kendall Simmons 4 years, 9 months ago

Nope...you can't even get their delicious calamari at 2:15 AM.

justoneperson 4 years, 9 months ago

"Encore, The Pita Pit and Pyramid Pizza"

Are these businesses even open during the hours we're talking about with this service....the pizza place may be, but the other two?

Or, maybe someone just doesn't want it in front of the Masonic Temple (which they have thus far been unable to change into a nightclub)?

Food carts are a good idea, for many of the reasons listed in previous articles (and commentary), just limit the number of permits to something reasonable. It would seem that the guys that took the initiative should get one, then maybe some sort of lottery or "first come, first serve" system after that would work. Oh, I know, only a certian select few are allowed to make money in Larryville. (Maybe a little competition over cheaper rents is a much needed thing downtown)

drewnon 4 years, 9 months ago

The Pita Pit is open untill 4 on weekends, though it might only be delivery after 2. Pyramid is open about as late on the weekends. That is, if I remember correctly. I don't know about Encore.

collared_greens 4 years, 9 months ago

Encore is definitely not open then. Maybe until 11 or midnight, but not after last call.

webmocker 4 years, 9 months ago

According to their website ENCORE Sunday - Wednesday : 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM Thursday : 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM Friday - Saturday : 11:00 AM - 12:00 AM

According to their corporate website PITA PIT Daily 10:30AM to 3AM

According to their website PYRAMID PIZZA Sun-Wed 11AM-midnight Thu-Sat 11AM-3AM

puddleglum 4 years, 9 months ago

All hail the mighty compton! he married,-I mean Earned his money thru hard work and stuff. can we just give all of our money to first management? they know how to manage money really well.

ksjayhawk74 4 years, 9 months ago

Deny new businesses the right to operate in Downtown Lawrence, so other businesses (most of which are not open late at night) don't have to worry about competition...

Great plan... In the future, when a new business wants to operate in Downtown Lawrence, we can ask their competition if it's OK with them...

JHawker 4 years, 9 months ago

I have only slighted mixed reactions to the concerns in this article. I fully support these two gentlemen in their small business quest for a late night snack stand. To have a cart and provide the snacks they discuss, would be a great addition to the variety currently available downtown. I do, however believe that any city ordinances should ensure that future mobile snack carts, are indeed carts. That they are stand-alone carts and not transportation in and of itself - such as to serve from a pick-up truck or other ordinarily used vehicle. The business plan should show the depth and consideration these two men have displayed. Doug Compton has other restaurants to compete with, and this snack cart will be no different. In the winter season especially, Compton would have the "advantage" as many drunk clients might prefer to wait and eat inside, rather than outside. I commend these two business-minded people and hope they are successful.

staff04 4 years, 9 months ago

A well-reasoned and competent argument on these forums? Clearly you're in the wrong place...

Seriously though, good comment.

ksjayhawk74 4 years, 9 months ago

And why didn't this guy have a problem with the unfair competition from the hot dog cart that was operating at 9th & Mass for a long time?

puddleglum 4 years, 9 months ago

Compton likes hot dogs and mustard and stuff. but only before 6pm

Jonathan Kealing 4 years, 9 months ago

In a previous story, we referenced concerns expressed by the owner of the Replay having concerns. I've edited the headline to reflect that this only refers to one owner.

scary_manilow 4 years, 9 months ago

The only of the Replay doesn't care at all-- in fact, he encourages this kind of thing.

Kendall Simmons 4 years, 9 months ago

I want to know why Compton's opinion was seen as important or newsworthy. Seriously. After all, he doesn't OWN those restaurants...he merely rents them space. Does he honestly think this food cart will drive them out of business? Does it really matter what HE thinks? After all, he's not in the food business.

Now, it would have been a different thing had the owners of Encore, the Pita Pit and Pyramid Pizza been there to protest...but they apparently weren't. (Maybe they realize that having a restaurant on Mass. means having lots of competition?)

Of all opponents to something like this, a developer with properties in the area should be most suspect.

d_prowess 4 years, 9 months ago

I am unclear on how this differs from the hotdog stand that operates on Mass St. on the weekends. Same idea, but operating late at night, when there is actually less options to patrons than when the hotdog vendor is out there.
That said, I don't fault Compton for not wanting this. He has property that one would assume will be less valuable to a renter since they would not sell as much due to the late night stand taking away some customers. Not a reason for the city to stop this, but you can't fault Compton for trying to protect his.

Kendall Simmons 4 years, 9 months ago

Yes, I can fault him...when the owners of those restaurants aren't, themselves, protesting the food cart. And when, if he had his way, he'd own the Masonic Building and rent it to the competition himself.

Plus I find the idea of a food cart stealing away so much business that Encore, The Pita Pit and Pyramid Pizza would either be forced to move and the space sit empty or demand their rents be lowered is simply laughable.

kernal 4 years, 9 months ago

Buffett does but they won't inherit his wealth; they earn their own way.

deec 4 years, 9 months ago

Gosh I wish I'd had a rich daddy to "partner" with my husband. Too bad my daddy chose a career in the military instead.

puddleglum 4 years, 9 months ago

big fish, small pond.....sooner or later, he will be swept under the rug by a bigger ...guy.

Keith 4 years, 9 months ago

And remember hopeful businessmen, when the city denies your permit, just do what Doug and his cronies do and sue the city.

Jayson Hawk 4 years, 9 months ago

I don't have a problem with the late night food cart.

Compton should use some of the money he is getting from the special tax district on his properties by Free State High School to subsidize the downtown businesses that are in his buildings.

pizzapete 4 years, 9 months ago

A hotdog/burger cart would be a great idea for downtown, especially late at night. I think they would make a killing on the weekends. Compton, what a loser!

frank mcguinness 4 years, 9 months ago

Competition is good.... Unless you are competing with a doug compton leased business.

LAME.

irvan moore 4 years, 9 months ago

i have no (hot) dog in this fight but i'm tired of the city sticking stuff (outdoor dining) all over the sidewalks and taking up pedestrian space. i know i'm not going to be down there after midnight so won't have to deal with it but we (city) have plenty of mess to clean up in the morning without adding more disposible products. and think about adding a hot dog to the alcohol=puke.

riverdrifter 4 years, 9 months ago

FTW! I was wondering if anybody would pick up on this. Barf has to come from somewhere!

portstorm 4 years, 9 months ago

This from the man that bought that 1/4 block from the Masons as a bundle (because the masons knew the temple wasn't worth much due to it's age and odd layout). They sold the two properties south of it under the understanding that someone would care for the temple and convert it to some good use, while making BANK on the two prime rentals to the south.

Good old Doug bought the package and IMMEDIATELY put a terrible particle board blockade and sale sign in front of the one building that needed help from a developer. Years later, rot, rot, & spray paint.

Thanks Doug! Free market is great when your the one benefitting otherwise... SUE! Wouldn't want to crowd out the rotting barricade with a hotdog cart.

Amy Heeter 4 years, 9 months ago

I just don't understand why people hate Doug Compton so much.

pizzapete 4 years, 9 months ago

Doug, thanks for the noise ordinance (no local bands playing a house party, ie., competition to you) and doubling rents downtown so that no one without a liquor license can rent from you. Yea, that and a lot more. Compton is so awesome!

BruceWayne 4 years, 9 months ago

Lawrence developer Doug Compton feeds one of his two zebras at his
home. Compton's family is host to many animals, including bison and
camels.

Lawrence developer Doug Compton feeds one of his two zebras at his home. Compton's family is host to many animals, including bison and camels. by Scott McClurg/Journal-World Photo

need more? not hard to find.

tolawdjk 4 years, 9 months ago

Compton should be worried.

These guys need to check out Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs in Denver on the 16th street mall.

Best cart dogs I have had -ever-.

Alaskan reindeer and southwestern buffalo are their staples, but on his "What the %@*^&" Wednesdays I've had Yak Cherry Habanero, Rattlesnake/Pheasant, and Elk Jalepeno Chedder.

The man fixes a mean dog. If they look to something like that, Compton should be terrified.

Jimo 4 years, 9 months ago

Biker Jim's rocks! A must-see when in Denver. Perpetual 'best of Denver' winner. Frequent destination of Food Network programmers.

It is also an excellent example of what a "food cart" can be - far more than over-boiled hot dogs.

das 4 years, 9 months ago

As long as they comply with any relevant health code laws........BFD

"A licensed street vendor must prove current State of Kansas Health Department Certificate of Approval if selling food or non-alcoholic beverages, and must prove any other licenses or certificates that are required by the State of Kansas." From: http://www.lawrenceks.org/city_code/system/files/chapter06.pdf

matthewjherbert 4 years, 9 months ago

umm....how is this ANY different than the guy with the hot dog stand open during the day? I guess free market is okay during daylight hours but once the stars come out capitalism should be limited?

BorderRuffian 4 years, 9 months ago

Competition is the biggest and best driving force in the American market. It sounds like the existing businesses actually want protection against the little guy. If they are so worried, perhaps they should spend greater effort competing - supplying a better or less expensive product during these obscenely late hours.

kernal 4 years, 9 months ago

The first thing that came to my mind was how long before they get mugged, robbed or puked on. Best of luck to you!

kansanbygrace 4 years, 9 months ago

I think if anyone has any say about it at all it should be the restaurant people, not the landlord. The "owners" of the real estate get their exorbitant rent whether the tenants are a boom or a bust. Compton has had his way with Lawrence for much too long. The quality of his offerings is mediocre, and he has no vision whatsoever, besides I Me Mine.

pfunk81 4 years, 9 months ago

Screw Doug, do something with the Temple instead of complain about a cart in front of it. And why should he care about the businesses he rent out to? He's gonna get paid regardless. If they fail, someone takes their place. Seriously, what a maroon.

dontcallmedan 4 years, 9 months ago

They could put a door in the Temple plywood--it was always the most popular downtown public urination location.

BruceWayne 4 years, 9 months ago

will the cart be pulled by a zebra? I like zebras.

Danielle Brunin 4 years, 9 months ago

Don't be silly. The hamburgers in question will be made from the zebras! Heh, heh...

fairplay 4 years, 9 months ago

Hey, Doug Compton owns Zebras! His opinion might change if there is Zebra money to be made!

sherbert 4 years, 9 months ago

I don't really care either way myself, but I do find it hilarious that the cart guy compares his small $300 yearly fee + $50 per month, as a higher price per sq ft than the restaurants. Now that's funny.

impska 4 years, 9 months ago

Compton's argument doesn't really hold water. If Pita Pit and all the other fast food restaurants named would do better if they sold food from a cart rather than renting from Compton, then that's what they should do. If they make more by paying high rents and overhead, then they should do that.

If Compton's rent is so high that businesses downtown can't make a profit while renting from him, then his rent is too high.

The city shouldn't consider supporting rent so extravagant in our downtown area that some guy with a cart is going to start putting people out of business.

ToriFreak13 4 years, 9 months ago

Too bad most of you are caught up on Doug Compton. Compton is only a topic because the initial permit applied for was in front of his property. Late night food carts are never a good idea. How many state food safety employees are going to track out to Ltown at 3 in the morning for spot inspections? We can't afford foot patrols at night as it is and now we want to create this potential hazard?

Note to Mandel - many other University towns have a bigger population and ground space. We like being able to walk downtown without being harassed. Besides do you really want all the bums in town hanging out at your cart? Begging you for food, begging everyone that passes by for money to buy them food, and probably robbing you the way things are going downtown. If we want to be like "other University towns", lets be like Columbus, OH that has no sales tax on take out food.

FarneyMac 4 years, 9 months ago

This is ridiculous. You're probably scared of your own shadow, too. Most cities have food carts, food trucks, etc., and it's not a problem anywhere. Try living somewhere outside of Lawrence for once.

liberallibrarian 4 years, 9 months ago

I was thinking the same thing, FarneyMac. Let's get a little perspective. It's just a food cart.

thomgreen 4 years, 9 months ago

Just got back from a long weekend in Portland Oregon. Food carts are a big thing there, we ate at them every night. Even with the large homeless population I never once was asked for food while I was near the food carts, or asked to buy them food.

lawrencenerd 4 years, 9 months ago

I love all the food carts in downtown Portland. There is so much variety, and you can get just about anything on the go. It is just fantastic. It really does add to the ambiance of downtown, and I think we'd do well in Lawrence to have some. It would be good for our economy here.

gatekeeper 4 years, 9 months ago

I just recently had the best darned hot dogs of my life from Mexican street vendors in Hollywood after seeing a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. As you leave the Bowl, there are literally dozens of them. Seriously, the best hot dog I ever had. Did I get sick? NO. Was the food great? YES. Were the hundreds of other people getting food also happy and not getting ill? YES.

Get a life.

Jimo 4 years, 9 months ago

"Downtown landlord Doug Compton has urged city commissioners to reject a permit ..."

There is no basis to reject a permit. I suggest Mr. Compton apply for his own permit. (Maybe he should invite Bobby Flay for a 'throwdown'.)

overthemoon 4 years, 9 months ago

would we be able to tell the difference?

Sorry...that one was just hanging there waiting to be plucked.

kansanbygrace 4 years, 9 months ago

Not exactly, arcane. There are real chefs in at least 5 of the restaurants between 7th and 9th. That's no guarantee, though, that their menu will suit your pallet.

gatekeeper 4 years, 9 months ago

That's how it is at most restaurants. Not all chefs go to culinary school. A lot of them learn on the job. doesn't mean they aren't great cooks.

pfunk81 4 years, 9 months ago

anyone who calls themselves a chef and didn't go to culinary school is a fraud

overthemoon 4 years, 9 months ago

Did you miss that part about the city charging rent for sidewalk use? Downtown is crowded at night. A hot dog stand isn't going to have a huge impact. And I'd argue that Walmart has destroyed MANY small businesses (and large venerable ones) across America.

youarewhatyoueat 4 years, 9 months ago

Pita Pit is a national chain, not really local.

Jeff Cuttell 4 years, 9 months ago

This guy is will hurt local small businesses like Pyramid and Pita Pita more then Wal Mart hurts anyone in this town.

Most insane comment.... ever.

booyalab 4 years, 9 months ago

Don't forget mom and pop's 3 wolf 1 moon clothing emporium.

pizzapete 4 years, 9 months ago

I say let them have a go, someone can always pay to have the darned thing burned down if it really gets in the way.

overthemoon 4 years, 9 months ago

And the developers like Compton complain that Lawrence isn't 'business friendly'.

Papa Kenos started in a sliver of space...fabulous slices passed through a window. They've grown and become 'mainstream' Rudy's, too. Used to be in the back of the Crossing on 11th and Indiana. Are any of the complainers aware of the food revolution taking place in other cities? Start up chefs are selling topnotch cuisine out of delivery trucks, terrific ethnic food is available, and there's always a hot dog stand...often selling really fabulous takes on the basic dog. This is a good thing and one of the business that add variety and vibrancy to downtown.

zzgoeb 4 years, 9 months ago

If this cart puts these other folks out of business, they are doomed to fail. Don't forget the old saying "Competition should make you better, not bitter!!!" If Doug is really worried, maybe he could lower his rents...YEAH!!!!

H_Lecter 4 years, 9 months ago

The cart would be the perfect vehicle to introduce exotic meats to Lawrence patrons.

1029 4 years, 9 months ago

I think we should bulldoze the temple, turn Mass Street into a pedestrian mall, convert the Carnegie Library into a Cheesecake Factory, and let people sell hotdogs wherever they want to.

4 years, 9 months ago

A downtown food cart is an awesome idea. I've often wished we had something like that. The idea of not wanting the city to allow carts because it will be competition is laughable. That's what business is. You don't have any guarantees that you'll be the only option, nor should you.

cowboy 4 years, 9 months ago

Compton announces 7 story food cart in October

BigPrune 4 years, 9 months ago

What about all the trash from the food cart's patrons? Won't Compton be required to have the trash picked up if it's on his property? Where will these kids be fixing their food to sell? Do they have a commercial kitchen somewhere that meets health code?

puddleglum 4 years, 9 months ago

I would love to see Compton out there picking up trash. I'd prolly pay him $5/hr

puddleglum 4 years, 9 months ago

"I also question sanitation. "

don't be afraid of soap. you can even shower more than once a month-if you like.

Kent Shrack 4 years, 9 months ago

Just rent them the sidewalk as most towns do... I am sure that the little fenced in areas that clutter and congest the sidewalks downtown pay a daily rental don't they? Wichita gets a fee per square foot per day.. If we are not collecting a daily fee from the "eat out on the sidewalks" downtown,, shouldn't we? It is our property,, not the businesses.... I'm sure Doug wouldn't mind paying for the 10X40 areas at each of his rentals if the street vendor had to pay for say, a 3X6. Seems I remember a business person / resturant owner / city leader that wouldn't allow a food vendor within 100 feet of his place during the sidewalk sale. Shouldn't we just change the name from Lawrence to Potter'sville,, er' I mean,,, Comptonville?

Jonathan Becker 4 years, 9 months ago

The title of the article says, "Another Downtown Property Owner . . . " Who was the first? The article assumes that the reader has prior knowledge of someone else who has complained food carts. Never assume, Mr. Lawton.

Keith 4 years, 9 months ago

"As it stands, it is either sensationalism or poor journalism."

With the LJW, it can be both.

lgreen17 4 years, 9 months ago

There are carts in every major city and college town, seems like someone could come up with a way to make this work.

pea 4 years, 9 months ago

Let them compete!!!

I agree about the headline(s) too.

damnitimpissed 4 years, 9 months ago

If Compton has his way, I, for one, will go out of my way to avoid all three — Encore, The Pita Pit and Pyramid Pizza.

Kebabs and gyros and shawarmas, yes please :D

he_who_knows_all 4 years, 9 months ago

I remember when Doug was first starting out as a bar owner and was the one asking for all kinds of help and favors from others.

Throw them a bone Doug. You got help and now you can help. Try it some time.

justforfun 4 years, 9 months ago

Envy will get you nowhere people. Move on!

giveitback 4 years, 9 months ago

I can't understand why people are so nervous about a simple "sidewalk" vender. Last Sunday we had a Arts and Crafts sale at Southpark. Neither JC Penny's or Kolh's or Pier 1 or Wal-marts or Target went out of business! Free enterprise!!!!!! Remember? What would the reply be if Keebler wanted the Girl scouts to stop selling cookies. Maybe the real concern here is that the Pita Pit and Pyramid Pizza are PAYING WAY TO MUCH IN RENT. I don't see how anyone can lose sleep over a Hotdog vender on the sidewalk out front. Maybe if the Pita Pit and the pizza place sold thier food from a cart at 50 dollars a month rent, they could be more competive!!

BruceWayne 4 years, 9 months ago

donate? donate? you sure you got the whole story there?

BruceWayne 4 years, 9 months ago

this "donation" was nothing more than Drug Compton buying his rezone for Lowes. wait and watch...Lowes will break ground by thanksgiving.

stopit 4 years, 9 months ago

LarryNative - The businesses (Pita Pit, etc) should object and not Doug.

Jimo 4 years, 9 months ago

I would feel I should have not made such a foolish investment that was premised upon a lack of competition and customers who were really so unwilling to choose my establishment's offerings.

Even Adam Smith recognized that the first priority of any capitalist is to convince government to restrict competition from other capitalists.

stopit 4 years, 9 months ago

So what if Doug loses some revenue he can afford it. Get over it Dougie

somedude20 4 years, 9 months ago

Give me a break. If the Comp gave a rat's bum about like foods and unfair Competition, then why allow Pyramid Pizza to move in 3 doors down from Papa K's?

"No Babu! No Babu! You bad man! You very bad man! You very lazy bad man!"

somedude20 4 years, 9 months ago

no I did not but I hope you are beat Pyramind back to 9th st

seahorselover 4 years, 9 months ago

Let him put his cart up, Lawrence. Competition in business is one of America's tenants, and tons of other cities have them. Let's not fall behind and cheat people out of choice.

missmagoo 4 years, 9 months ago

I want a hot dog reaaaaaaal bad!

You're exactly right, Doug. No hot dog vendor, pizza place, gyros place, sit-down restaurant, etc should be able to open up shop near one of your average establishments. Make it city ordinance! Come on, get real. A little competition never hurt anyone. "Hey guys, do you want to grab a $5 hot dog meal or go in and eat at Encore?." Get a grip.

seahorselover 4 years, 9 months ago

Let him put his cart up, Lawrence. Competition in business is one of America's tenents, and tons of other cities have them. Let's not fall behind and cheat people out of choice.

wdl 4 years, 9 months ago

I have never understood why so many people hate a succesful person. Anyone who has more than what we have we to want to tear down and trash them as though they are an enemy of the state. Why? D.C. got to where he is because he is smart, skillful, hardworking, and some what lucky. Envy is at the root of it all. Most of us never really take a risk in our lives and are content with standing on the side lines playing pocket pool and critizing those who have come from behind and passed us by like a fast freight.

At the same time I admire the street vendor who wants to start his enterprise against Doug Goliath. Their ambition is admirable they should be given a chance. Doug should pick his battles a little more wisely. This article has given the vendors a million dollars worth of free advertising and displays D.C. in a negitive light overall.

Downtown is a place with a carnaval atmosphere, the street vendor and maybe a juggling act or two would round it out. Let the free enterprise system work. With winter just around the cornor the men will be seperated from the boys.

Kent Shrack 4 years, 9 months ago

I don't have a problem with Doug and his $. My problem is when he and his Wal-Mart friends sue "us" the city to get their way. The majority didn't want the Wal-Mart there, but Doug's love for money was more important to him that his civic pride.

whats_going_on 4 years, 9 months ago

I don't hate him because he's wealthy.

I hate him because he's a rich a**hat who owns most of this city and the people in it.

whats_going_on 4 years, 9 months ago

props to you for being a restaurant owner and not putting up with this bullsh*t.

BruceWayne 4 years, 9 months ago

Compton will get his way here...always does.

wmathews 4 years, 9 months ago

In regards to the headline being inaccurate: We've updated the story to reflect the opinion of Nick Carroll, owner of the Replay Lounge, who voiced his concerns via email to the city commission. Additionally, if you download the attached document you'll find a petition with signatures of more downtown business owners and managers.

http://www2.ljworld.com/documents/2010/sep/14/nick-carrolls-letter-city-commission/

Whitney Mathews Online Editor

booyalab 4 years, 9 months ago

did anyone else have trouble viewing the document?

Jonathan Kealing 4 years, 9 months ago

We didn't have to beat the bush for anything. We've known about this correspondence with the city commission all along. If we erred, it's that we wrote into the headline something that hadn't been reported. We've corrected that and acknowledged that, as we're able to do in online media.

jimmyjms 4 years, 9 months ago

"D.C. got to where he is because he is smart, skillful, hardworking, and some what lucky."

Uh, say what? He married well, that's about it.

Nick Carroll's statement is just as laughable - what "increased liability?" The Replay sells whatever whatshisface throws on the grill back there, and as far as clean-up, come on, seriously? There's puke, piss, and god knows what else all over the place there and in the alley out back as it is.

Brad Maestas 4 years, 9 months ago

Yes, what is so insidious about a food cart? How about Lawrence pulling itself out of the culinary dark ages and getting with the program? One of my favorite places to eat is from a cart - N.Y. Dosas run my Thiru Kumar on Washington Square South. As a former bar employee and still-frequent patron in downtown Lawrence, I must say that our late-night diversity is quite laughable. Albeit the proposed cart won't be serving authentic Mexican, dosas, noodles, souvlaki or biryani but if they use quality ingredients, even burgers and hot dogs are bound to become popular as a convenient alternative to what is already offered at the brick and mortar places. This is hopefully the baby steps of a greater food cart presence in Lawrence. Diversity should be embraced.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 4 years, 9 months ago

So, are any of you Compton-haters business owners? Is there anyone "for" the food cart that has ever attempted to manage a restaurant in downtown Lawrence who thinks this is a good idea; or do you think it's fair to the restaurants?

"We’ll be taking a very small portion of anybody’s business."

In today's economy, with shrinking margins, that "small portion" is enough to drive a restaurant out of business. He admits that he'll take business away from the high-overhead brick-and-mortar business that employ dozens of people. How many people were put out of work when Vermont Street went under? I think Compton's concerns are legit. A number of people have to mortgage their homes to open one restaurant in dowtown Lawrence, but this guy can take away their business with an investment he charged on his Visa card. Not good for the city; not in this economy.

And if the economy was strong, they should at least be charged a fee for using the citizens' sidewalk as a storefront.

And expect to get robbed at gunpoint on a monthly basis with an "after hours" business plan. The city will have to post a cop on the corner just to keep him safe. Who will pay for that? We will.

booyalab 4 years, 9 months ago

Why are the existing businesses more important than prospective businesses? If the new business can provide something that consumers want at a price they want to pay for it, that should be all that matters to us. The businesses that exist should be rightfully concerned about new competition but that's their problem. They make the profits. They suffer the losses.

pfunk81 4 years, 9 months ago

someone give me a list of DC owned properties so I can boycott them.

whats_going_on 4 years, 9 months ago

I'm sure he owns more than that...I didn't see Parkway on there?

Danimal 4 years, 9 months ago

These Lawrence developers and landlords make me want to puke. Seriously Doug Compton, don't you have enough money already? This guy just wants to open a hot dog and burger cart, which there are already many thousands of across the country. I do love it that a little hot dog cart has Compton so upset.

whats_going_on 4 years, 9 months ago

he's not upset as much as he is putting on a show to show how much he "cares."

PUKE.

Clevercowgirl 4 years, 9 months ago

WHAT IS GOING ON????? First we deceide to only allow "Walkable" small box retail and block out Lowes out west. Then we decide to block out a small, walkable hot dog stand in the CBD (central business district). Then our community theatre is lured away from our CDB to go out west by you know who. Oh, and yes, we are taking the community out of Lawrence Community Theatre. Is this make up the rules as you go???? I think that there is more in the water than algea.

Clevercowgirl 4 years, 9 months ago

Oh, and don't even get me going on the urban planning department of the School Board.

Clevercowgirl 4 years, 9 months ago

Was Doug Compton thinking of his tenants when he "offered" to build Lawrence Theatre a new home? I wonder how much business the downtown restaurants will lose due to that? Oh, I guess that you can't go before the City Council to protest against yourself. Stay tuned for new restaurants to be built out west by....

Clevercowgirl 4 years, 9 months ago

But I do sympathize....It will be hard to find an upscale tenant to go behind the hot dog stand.

Tom McCune 4 years, 9 months ago

Would you really want to work a cash-business on Mass street after midnight? No me. It wouldn't last a week before being robbed. Whether legal or not, it's too dangerous for the employees of said business.

lawrencenerd 4 years, 9 months ago

You do realize at least half of the bars on Mass St are cash only and are open well past midnight? Don't hear about them getting robbed every week.

Tom McCune 4 years, 9 months ago

I maybe should have said "out on the street on Mass after midnight." At least in a bar inside a building you can have a bouncer at the door....

Tom McCune 4 years, 9 months ago

... a bouncer, security guard, cameras, etc. etc. at the door.

No door = no bouncer, no security guard, no camera. Too easy for the armed thugs to grab, rob, flee, etc.

Brad Maestas 4 years, 9 months ago

Then tell me why, here in big bad NYC, there aren't carts getting robbed all the time? There are carts in shady areas open 24 hours and only rarely do they have trouble. So why would one cart in downtown Lawrence be so thoroughly doomed? There's a little thing called cashouts where another employee comes by periodically and picks up a large chunk of the till so at any one time very little is there to steal. If it ever came to that, which I doubt it ever would, it would be an effective means to deter would-be robbers as has been shown here and elsewhere. Go ahead and continue cowering in fear.

whats_going_on 4 years, 9 months ago

It makes me laugh how many people in this town despise Compton. I'm one of them.

What a (enter expletive here).

whats_going_on 4 years, 9 months ago

One question...would the businesses downtown opposed to the cart rather lose their money (IF any) to a hotdog stand or let the drunks drive to McDisgusting and buy food there? If people want Pita, they'll go to Pita. If they want Pizza, they'll go to one of the many down there. If they want a hamburger, I'd much rather the money go to a guy standing in the cold on the corner rather than the distustingtons down at McDs.

blueberries 4 years, 9 months ago

In that case, why is this even a story?

Tom McCune 4 years, 9 months ago

I was inside the old Masonic Lodge several times many years ago. It could actually be converted into a very cool bar, restaurant, dinner theater. But it would take a whole bunch of money to make it happen. Probably would never "pencil out."

The best use for the old Masonic Lodge?..... Comedy club. No kidding. It would be an awesome Comedy Club. I don't know if the market exists in Lawrence to support it, but the Improv and similar clubs in other cities are great fun.

Maybe a venue with rotating format (all of which serve food and booze to pay the bills, of course):

Tuesday nights: classic comedy movies Wednesday nights: classic drama movies Thursday nights: gay bar Friday nights: concert venue Saturday nights: comedy club

Tom McCune 4 years, 9 months ago

Tuesday nights: classic comedy movies Wednesday nights: classic drama movies Thursday nights: concert venue Friday nights: dinner theater Saturday nights: comedy club Sunday nights: gay bar

Tom McCune 4 years, 9 months ago

Monday nights: sports bar Tuesday nights: classic movies comedy or drama Wednesday nights: open mike night Thursday nights: concert venue Friday nights: dinner theater Saturday nights: comedy club Sunday nights: gay bar

mr_right_wing 4 years, 9 months ago

Capitalism RULES, man!!

What's wrong with some of the people in this town?!

"Oh my, another Wal-Mart, and lions and tigers and bears, oh my!!"

"A Lowes store?! It's a sign of the apocalypse!!"

"Build a 12-foot tall wall around the city!! Protect downtown at all costs!!"

"A snack cart?! A snack cart?!?! Have you gone mad, man?!?!"

Let these boys pursue "The American Dream" already!!

Rex Russell 4 years, 9 months ago

Exactly. What happened to free enterprise and good old competition? Been here 20 yrs and the fact that 3,4 or 5 land owners/builders/bankers run just about everything in Lawrence and Douglas Co. is hard to escape. Watch the local government bow down to Mr. Compton's whining complaint. In a heartbeat.

blueberries 4 years, 9 months ago

If you're concerned about how the commissioners will act, write to them.

blindrabbit 4 years, 9 months ago

I'm for free enterprise as much as anyone, but some real issues with street vendors unless carefully regulated.

  1. Are vendors going to be honest about collecting sales tax.
  2. Are vendors at an advantage compared to property tax paying storefront owners.
  3. Sanitary conditions, are wash sinks available to vendors.
  4. Are restrooms available to vendors and patrons; as required in storefronts.
  5. Who is going to take care of trash generated by these operations.
  6. What determines when closure should be required due to weather conditions.
  7. What City and State licenses are required.
  8. Are foods prepared in sanitary conditions.
  9. What kind of liability insurance will be required.

tolawdjk 4 years, 9 months ago

  1. Are vendors going to be honest about collecting sales tax.

Are storefront venders honest about collecting sales tax? Why hold street vendors to some mytholocial higher standard?

  1. Are vendors at an advantage compared to property tax paying storefront owners.

Why would they be? They own less "property" hence should have a lower tax burden.

  1. Sanitary conditions, are wash sinks available to vendors.

Don't see why they wouldn't be. That would be up to health code to enforce.

  1. Are restrooms available to vendors and patrons; as required in storefronts.

Its not a store front location. Its a street vendor. Park a two seater porta potty on a little red wagon if it will make you feel better.

  1. Who is going to take care of trash generated by these operations.

Who takes care of trash generated at replay and moved outside? Are storefront venders responsible for patrons littering?

  1. What determines when closure should be required due to weather conditions.

What does it matter? Does this need to be regulated?

  1. What City and State licenses are required.

Good question.

  1. Are foods prepared in sanitary conditions.

Are foods prepared in sanitary conditions at any storefront vendors? Enforcement budget has been cut across the state, eggs are rotten out of the kitchen. I can't think a food cart would have any reason to be worse than any other business.

  1. What kind of liability insurance will be required.

I'm guessing some, and less than a storefront's insurance requirement.

windjammer 4 years, 9 months ago

What would Lawrence be without old Oneeye.

blindrabbit 4 years, 9 months ago

towaldik and oneeye: i could of come up with your simplistic answers to the real concerns I posted. I thought of similar responses prior to my posting; but rather than play like an ostrich and ignore them, I had hoped for a more realistic exploration. Keep in mind, I am not opposed to this.

Tom McCune 4 years, 9 months ago

I remember what it was like when Last Call was open....

Angie Dick 4 years, 9 months ago

let the guy sell his hot dogs and burgers, My gosh. people now day's don't get to see that stuff no more. Don't dis him before he even get' s the chance to try it! I hope he get's to sell his items!

Brad Maestas 4 years, 9 months ago

Haha! You know, as much as I love his writing and his show, he (and Zimmern) have actually contributed to the compromise or demise of many places featured in their shows. One such place is Kabab Cafe here in Astoria, Queens. After the episode aired (in which both of them appeared) the place was impossible to get into with 2+ hour waits. That would've been all well and good had the quality of the food stayed the same but with the fame and the flood of self-proclaimed foodies came a compromise of quality and as I understand it, the same thing has happened to several spots that have been featured. Let's just hope that the same thing doesn't happen to this cart!

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