New rules are in place for food truck owners in Cape Coral after a new ordinance was passed in early 2023. The Cape Coral Food Truck Ordinance makes it illegal to keep trucks in place overnight and took effect on Tuesday.
Picnic tables and stringed lights are features that Manuela Guzman and her family added to the area surrounding their food truck called Milly’s Dominican Kitchen. But, what was intended to help customers feel welcome must go away.
“Now we’re not going to have that ability to interact because it’s basically pick up and go,” Manuela Guzman, CEO of Milly’s Dominican Kitchen, said.
And since Cape Coral’s new ordinance is in effect, the food truck itself has to move every night. The city said it needs to establish basic health and safety regulations. But, because of the new rules, it’s going to cost more for Guzman to keep the business going.
“We had to purchase a truck because we have to move it every single day. You can’t be somewhere more than 12 hours. We had to secure a location to store our truck,” Guzman said.
Guzman told WINK News those costs would be more than $1,000. If you just take a look around Cape Coral, you’ll see other places that need to adjust. One of those places is Los Taquitos off Pine Island Road, where it would be challenging not to see their setup.
“If you drive by and see it as it is right now, you know what it is. Now, when everything is gone people aren’t going to think that we are open,” Aubrybel Castillo, the co-owner of Los Taquitos, said.
“If we don’t have this, it’s impossible you know. We can’t eat we can’t sit. No, it’s totally different,” patron Angela Forrisi said.
Despite the changes, Guzman told WINK News they’re going to find a way to keep the food cooking.
“I’m a foodie when I go somewhere and I’m like oh they closed I get disappointed. And we definitely do not want to disappoint our customers or the community,” Guzman said.
Guzman told WINK News the family plans on donating the picnic tables because they can’t use them anymore. If any mobile food vendor is in violation of the new ordinance, the city will give them a warning so they can correct it. If it’s not done in a reasonable time, they can issue a notice of violation, notice to appear, or civil citation the ordinance does mention at least $100 penalty.