Two popular barbecue food trucks in Minneapolis face closure later this week if they can't find a way around a city ordinance.
Animales Barbeque Co. and Boomin Barbecue both posted on Instagram over the weekend about their fight to stay in business in Minneapolis — taking public their battle over a little-known ordinance in hopes it might spur a change to city policy that they say is overly restrictive.
Earlier this month, the businesses were told they'd have to stop using offset smokers by Oct. 1 to be in compliance with the ordinance that prohibits the use of anything outside a food truck.
Animales Barbeque Co. owner Jon Wipfli said he went public after initial attempts he'd made to work with the city this month didn't lead to a resolution. Without the smokers, production capacity would drop 70%.
"The only way we can be a sustainable business is by selling volume, and these smokers provide that volume," he said. "Without them, this is not a business model that's sustainable."
The food truck operators said in an Instagram post that they've been in touch with Mayor Jacob Frey and City Council members Elliott Payne and Michael Rainville, who have expressed support for their businesses while seeking a solution.
The two barbecue vendors say they are now working on starting an online petition to speed up the process.
"These awesome local joints are putting Minneapolis on the BBQ map, and we will find a way to keep them smoking," Frey said in a statement. "We are going to find a legal way to make this work."
Wipfli said he checked in with Frey this morning, "and he said they're still working on it."
Animales has used offset smokers since its 2018 launch, Wipfli said, and has passed every health inspection — with the smokers in plain sight and in use, including this year. The city is also asking for acquisition of NSF certification for food product safety, Wipfli said.
Boomin Barbeque also took to Instagram over the weekend, saying: "The city of Minneapolis is threatening to shut us and our friends at @animalesbarbequeco down and remove our ability to hold a license in the city going forward. Why you ask? Because of antiquated food truck ordinances."
Boomin Barbeque's social media post notes that the rule is intended to keep food trucks from competing with restaurants.
"But yet how many major restaurants do you see building out food trucks to dip into our market? The legislation only hurts us independently owned small business, and ultimately the food culture here in the city," the post said.
Wipfli believes a rival restaurant made the complaint after both food trucks were named in a Texas Monthly article praising their barbeque. He hopes to find a solution so he can keep his business in Minneapolis.
"All this could have been resolved and dealt with peacefully and privately," he said. "It's unfortunate it had to be like this."