The latest addition to Tauranga's booming food truck business has applied for a special liquor licence so people can enjoy a glass of wine or boutique beer with their outdoor meal.
Glenn Meikle of Bay of Plenty Brewery wants to operate a caravan dispensing liquor among food trucks that trade on the council-owned reserve every Friday next to the Rising Tide Bar in Newton St.
His application for a special licence for the food truck event, called the Street Food Union, was due to be heard today by the Tauranga Licensing Committee.
Although people can carry their food truck meals into his bar, formerly called Brewers Bar, they are unable to carry a drink outside to the tables and chairs on Soper Reserve. Mr Meikle said this had annoyed people.
He was working in with Rachelle Duffy of Little Big Markets who operated Street Food Union on the reserve.
Mr Meikle said it was all part of the burgeoning hospitality industry that was being driven by food whereas the consumption of alcohol was going down.
They were offering an alternative every Friday evening to the craziness of Mount Maunganui where parking was at a premium, he said.
He originally sought a variation to his liquor licence into the park from 5pm to 9pm, to take advantage of what daylight saving offered outdoor dining. However, this failed because he did not own the land.
The special licence would cover a fenced off area measuring about 30sq m, enough room to allow four food trucks to operate in the reserve, along with musical entertainment.
Mr Meikle praised the council's events team for allowing Street Food Union to operate on the reserve. It had been there since August, prior to which it operated as Food Truck Friday outside RPM shop in nearby Hull Rd.
Last Friday's event was a sell out, with the food trucks using up all their food. Mr Meikle saw good prospects to grow Street Food Union in future years. It would continue over the winter months, although not necessarily accompanied by alcohol sales.
Ms Duffy said Soper Reserve had never been used on a regular basis for events, with only the three summer time gigs organised by The Rising Tide Bar. ''Otherwise it is never used.''
She supported the application, saying they were trying to be responsible hosts. ''It is a safe environment...on the grand scale, it is quite small.''
There were 400 food truck and food marquee operators on their books, with all but 10 per cent being local sellers.
If the special licence was declined, she would still carry on but it would be less appealing because people would be unable to sit outside and have a burger and beer.
Street Food Union
Where: Soper Reserve, Newton St
When: 5pm to 9pm every Friday
Food: Four food trucks