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Mobile Street Vendors Say Restaurants Want Them Shut Down

4:45 PM, Aug 26, 2010   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- Some restaurants claim that mobile vendors are taking their lunchtime business. The mobile vendors say restaurants are trying to shut them down.

Many of the mobile street vendors, including Fujol's Brothers, put their location on Twitter. City rules requires there be a line of waiting customers before they can stop and open for business.

But they're not just serving lunch-- they're asking their customers for support.

"We only operate a couple hours a day. We're impacted when the weather's not good. We're not always in the same place every day," says Peter Korbel, Fujol's Brothers.

Korbel says mobile vendors aren't worried about the 64 pages of proposed regulations before the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

Instead, they are concerned about the ability of restaurants to lobby for more restrictions, including devastating restrictions on where mobile vendors can park.

"It could potentially put us out of business," Korbel says.

Edward Grandis is the Executive Director of Dupont Circle Merchants and Professionals Association.

"You have restaurants, we have documented, that are losing 30 or more percent of their lunchtime traffic because these lunch trucks know where they are and park near them," Grandis says.

His organization is one of several asking the department to add even more stipulations. He says it'll protect brick and mortar restaurants, "Who may not be able to stay open because they lose so much lunch trade they can't afford to be there the rest of the day," he says.

The restaurants and the street vendors are agreeing on one thing. They want people to look over the regulations, and send their comments to the city. 

The response was so great, the department had to extend its deadline for comments. That deadline was at 5 pm, August 26.

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