Water Street food truck ban, owners push back on proposal

If you like to go out on Water Street, there will likely be fewer food trucks available to you in the foreseeable future.

Customers aren't the only ones being affected. Food truck owners on Wednesday, April 19 pushed back on the Milwaukee Common Council's temporary ban on several blocks of Water Street.

"We make a lot of our business at night. Between 12 until 2 o’clock," said Abdallah Ismail, owner of the Fatty Patty food truck. "It’s a nice area. Close to the Bucks' stadium. A lot of students. A lot of different people you will meet on Water Street."

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Tuesday, Common Council members passed a temporary food truck restriction – banning them from a section of Water Street. It applies to the east and west sides of the street between Knapp and Pleasant.

"It doesn’t make any sense. Yes, we are going to lose business," Ismail said.

Proposed temporary Water Street food truck ban

"That is going to be until about May 31. At that point hopefully we’ll have a city-wide policy that is ready to roll for the next legislative cycle," said Ald. Jonathan Brostoff. 

Brostoff's district includes the stretch where the restriction will take place. He calls it a quick fix to a larger problem, and said the area has seen issues with excessive litter, an increase in grease being left behind and more.

"Right now we have just a system of rules in place, and guidance that aren’t quite clear enough," Brostoff said. "We have to tighten stuff up and make it a little better, so the bad operators can get out of the way and the good operators can operate better."

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Ismail believes regulations and changes will hurt business. 

"We’re not bothering Water Street. We’re not throwing grease out there," said Ismail. "It’s going to change the sales. We’re not going to get the same sales that we usually get. I have to lower the employees. It’s a struggle."

Mayor Cavalier Johnson has to sign the temporary ban. His office said he has indicated he will support it.