3. Food Carts & Trucks
The state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene requires food trucks to be parked at a licensed commissary or depot when not in use. Generally, this means the city’s food trucks spend the night outside Manhattan, where there’s more space and prices are more forgiving.
Wafels & Dinges stores its trucks in a 6,000-square-foot space commissary in Brooklyn, where they’re also washed, reloaded and repaired. The guys behind the trucks tell us that they have a night crew of about seven people to maintain the fleet, including a mechanic.
Like Wafels & Dinges, the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck (not out on the roads this summer) made its home in the outer boroughs, namely Greenpoint in Brooklyn and Hunts Point in the Bronx. Big Gay Ice Cream’s Doug Quint (check out our conversation with his partner Bryan) explains that ice cream trucks need to be plugged in when they’re not running to keep the freezers cold, and specific depots for ice cream trucks provide parking spots with the necessary 220-volt outlets. Each depot’s commissary also sells napkins and cones for truck owners to restock their cars.
Food carts are also stored overnight in garages, where a monthly space costs between $250 and $300. For the hundreds of carts in the five boroughs, there are only a handful of city-approved commissaries. We spotted one in the East Village next to the Merchant’s House Museum.