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Friday, June 14, 2024
Vending Oversight Committee 1.30.14

Vending Oversight Committee discusses future of late-night food carts

Food cart vendors, residents and an unprecedented amount of students voiced their opinions concerning the location of late-night food carts during a Vending Oversight Committee meeting Wednesday.

University of Wisconsin-Madison student supporters raised signs and vocalized their concerns when the floor opened for public deliberation. Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said the student turnout impressed him.

“This is the biggest, singular turnout of students at any city meeting I have seen in recent memory,” Verveer said.

The topic of the meeting focused on an Office of Business Resources memo, which proposed changes to license distribution and cart locations of late-night vendors. However, Verveer said some students expressed concerns over actions the committee and memo never proposed, such as eliminating late-night food vending.

The Office of Business Resources proposed limiting the annual number of late-night vending licenses to 10 as well as installing a method of seniority for choosing vending locations. The Office also recommended a ranking method based on seniority for choosing vending locations.

The memo also offers alternate locations for late-night food carts. However, vendors expressed concern over the lack of possible downtown locations.

Jessica Wartenweiler, owner of Curd Girl, said she is concerned late-night food venders will crowd Broom Street, where late-night vending is currently legal. Other legal locations, such as Library Mall and West Johnson Street, are not as profitable, the vendors said.

“It’s not good for the carts because we see our business going down,” she said.

Steven Lawrence, owner of Fried & Fabulous, said he is also concerned with the lack of late-night vending options in the downtown area.

“The residents downtown have clearly spoken that they want us to be there,” Lawrence said. “We want to be there. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be there.”

UW-Madison freshman Rebecca Schulman said she supports placing late-night food carts downtown and would frequent the carts if they moved to more downtown locations.

“I love the food carts,” Schulman said. “I wanted to make sure my voice was heard.”

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The committee did not come to a conclusion on the food cart locations and is set to review the memo Feb. 19.

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