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BB's is trucking pizza into downtown Rochester

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Food trucks have arrived in downtown Rochester this week with BB's Pizzaria selling slices in the shadow of Mayo Clinic's Gonda Building.

BB's co-owner Jason Brehmer says a food truck serving good, quick food in that area during the lunch rush just makes sense.

"Mayo Clinic has so many people in there trapped like rats. They can't get to their cars easily," he said. Weather permitting, BB's will park there from 11 a.m to 1 p.m. and sell three types of pizza and pop.

Until now, Rochester's food trucks have been mostly limited to operating only outside the downtown area due to the city's regulations against allowing such trucks to park in public spaces. However, private property is fair game for mobile eateries, though they are still required to have food safety licenses.

BB's owners Brehmer and Tom Boxrud navigated around those rules after their proposal to use downtown bus parking spaces that aren't occupied during the lunch hour was shot down by the city. Brehmer and Boxrud then reached out to the Calvary Episcopal Church at 111 Third Ave. SW with a plan.

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In exchange for being allowed to park in the half-circle driveway on the northwest corner of the church's property, BB's gives the church a portion of their profits. The church, in turn, will donate a slice of its pizza money to local food shelves and charities.

"So I think everyone (in the congregation) understands we're trying to do this for good. It's kind of food for food," said the Rev. Nick Mezacapa of Calvary Episcopal. "We're going to help ourselves, obviously, because we'll make some money to support our operating program and at the same time we'll do some good."

Food trucks have long been a fixture in major metro areas, though their popularity is rapidly growing. Matthew Geller, the president of the National Food Truck Association, has been quoted as estimating there are at least 117,000 food trucks in the U.S. One industry study estimated that food truck revenue grew an average of 9.3 percent each year from 2010 to 2015, to an estimated $857 million last year.

This trend has now reached smaller cities, like Rochester, with the Med City embracing Lucy's Taco Truck , Taco Moreno, Tacos El Sueno and others.

"I get so many calls. There is more interest this year than ever before," said Rochester licensing clerk Bethany Gerber. She has handled licensing of food vendors on public streets for 16 years.

Brehmer said this is a trend that the city should fully embrace.

"In our minds, with (Destination Medical Center) coming to town to make Rochester into a big metropolis, (the city is) going to have to work with people on different options in downtown," he said.

Related Topics: FOOD
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