Hoping to enliven outdoor plazas this summer at the Hennepin County Government Center, the County Board is expected Tuesday to back plans to license four vendors to run food carts there.

"We've been trying to attract activity on the plaza for a long time. Food is the best attractor of all," Commissioner Peter McLaughlin said last week, just before the board gave preliminary approval.

The vendors would operate carts on the north and south plazas weekdays from mid-May through mid-October, county real estate manager Michael Noonan said.

Generators wouldn't be permitted, and food would be pre-packaged or prepared in advance. The fee: $500.

Officials hope for four distinct food options that don't duplicate what's already offered on the plaza by Park Cafe, which leases space in the Government Center and provides catering for the county.

Commissioner Jan Callison volunteered to help with choosing food offerings. "Sounds like a commissioner committee to me," she said.