The East Bay city of Emeryville has been a particularly bright spot in the Bay Area's emerging street-food scene. While San Francisco is a maze of payouts and regulations across multiple agencies, Emeryville has dangled a streamlined permitting process far cheaper than that of its neighbor across the Bay Bridge. As a result, Emeryville's streets have served as a kind of incubator for mobile businesses, the place where, in less than a year, a handful of trucks has gotten established. Liba Falafel, Primo's Parrilla, Ebbett's Good To Go, Jon's Street Eats, Seoul on Wheels: All have thrived in the hometown of Pixar and Novartis.
That could be about to change. Fueled by complaints of unfair competition by brick-and-mortar restaurants, Emeryville's City Council has agreed to look at the city's mobile catering ordinance ― last amended in 1988 ― to protect brick-and-mortar eateries from what certain business owners are alleging is unfair competition.