Baltimore County Is ‘Wide Open’ Territory For Food Trucks And Entrepreneurs

This year, he decided not to take part in Frederick Road Fridays. His newly established third day of operation at his storefront is Friday.

As he reflected on his first year in business, he thought he'd be traveling more often, but he says it's been better to present his business as a brick and mortar spot. He said he'll occasionally take his truck to scheduled events, but he'll rely on staying put for income.

"I think of it more as a restaurant jacked up and has wheels on the bottom," he said. "We can cruise it around, but basically it's staying."

Wieland said he was asked about taking part in Food Truck Wednesdays, but he declined because Wednesday is a day he's at his storefront.

"If it was Tuesday or Thursday, I'd love to do it," he said.

Despite his struggles on the road, he believes Catonsville is a good spot for food trucks. One truck he has seen make local appearances is Jurasic Pork.

"I'd rather see a taco truck than another barbecue truck, but that's his business," Wieland said.

Harrison, who lives in Catonsville and has worked on food trucks since 2002, said he wouldn't operate his truck on Wednesdays or Sundays in Catonsville, as not to "mess [Wieland] up."

Finding spots to take the truck in Catonsville has been trial and error for Harrison. On a recent Friday, he parked on Frederick Road, in front of Salem Lutheran Church, with the hopes of getting about 50 customers.

He said he enjoys seeing the immediate reaction of giving food to patrons, compared to when he owned a restaurant and had to be more behind the scenes.

Baltimore County law says he has to be parked at least 200 feet away from a restaurant, but he's not intimidated by parking his truck near them.

"I like the competition," he said. "If you're really that worried, make your food better."

Mehr Lamba, a 22-year-old student at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, studying social work, was excited to have the truck located within walking distance of Pottery Cove, the Catonsville shop where she works.

While she said she was excited to see the truck there and wants more trucks to come by, she doesn't know if Frederick Road, the neighborhood's main corridor, would be big enough for more than one to be parked.

"I just think they're awesome," she said. "They're a little bit like a local business, but they drive places so I'm down for that, but it doesn't feel open enough to have food trucks.

But Pulford, of the food truck trade group, said there's potential in Baltimore County for growth, as he believes Baltimore City has made it more restrictive for food trucks to operate in recent years. As a result, owners began looking toward the suburbs, including Owings Mills, Columbia and Anne Arundel County, to conduct business, he said.

A bill was approved by the state legislature in April that allows for a licensed food truck to obtain a reciprocity license for counties within 90 miles of where the truck is based, meaning a truck licensed in Baltimore City can operate in Baltimore County by simply paying a fee, submitting a form and following the rules.

"That county's wide open to us," Pulford said. "As long as they're licensed."

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