Niagara Gazette

February 3, 2014

Food trucks put on ice in the Village of Lewiston

By Timothy Chipp
Niagara Gazette

Culinary magic or not, The Great Foodini couldn't escape this ruling.

The Lewiston Village Board turned down a request by Michael Attardo, a Ransomville businessman looking to roll on to Center Street with his four-wheeled food truck playing on the stage name of Harry Houdini, with little fanfare.

Citing conversations with local business owners through the Lower Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce, four members of the governing body present Monday politely shut the door to not only Attardo but any food truck request they'd receive in the foreseeable future.

"We talked to the local chamber of commerce and the thought is overwhelmingly against food trucks coming to this village at this time," Mayor Terry Collesano said, adding the restaurant community in Lewiston, which makes up quite a few of the Center Street storefronts, has made significant investments in the area.

"It's not fair to the other restaurants," he said.

Lewiston resident and The Black Market Food Truck operator Christian Willmott first approached the village board about possibly serving from his mobile kitchen last year, opening up the idea of this type of business competing with more traditional operations.

Attardo was seeking permission to regularly set up shop on Center Street in the vicinity of the chamber's offices and The Lewiston Village Pub, near the 800 block of Center Street, from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. He felt the time of night offered him an opening where he wouldn't hurt the restaurants already established, as most are closed during late-night party hours.

"If a younger crowd comes into the area and the restaurants are closed but the bars are still open,they're going to go to Niagara Falls if they have to," he said.

With his plan turned down, Attardo, who grew up in Lewiston and is a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Pennsylvania, will instead focus on other communities along with feeding the masses at some of Lewiston's festivals. He said he's setting up shop in Orchard Park for the first time later this week and is serving in the Williamsville area as well, while appearances at last year's Peach and Harvest festivals will only be the start of his presence during Lewiston's warm-weather events.

Wednesday's edition of the Niagara Gazette will have more on this story.