City: Food trucks could begin work downtown by April

The City of Knoxville is experimenting with a one-year pilot program for food trucks and it released its plans to the public Tuesday afternoon.

The plans, which are partly based on a similar program in Nashville, will allow food trucks to legally operate in public and certain private spaces while also abiding by city codes.

In order to adhere to the plan:

  • Vendors will need to pay a $500 application fee for a permit;
  • Food trucks will be able to operate in marked spaces along downtown streets;
  • They will be able to operate in private parking lots, with the permission of the property owner;
  • They will not be able to operate in residential zones.

More Information: Mobile Food Vendor Pilot Program (PDF)

More Information: Mobile Food Zones (PDF)

More Information: Mobile Food Zones Map (PDF)

More Information: Mobile Food Vendor Application

Knoxville Business Liaison Patricia Robledo said seven marked zones downtown will be open to food trucks. Each will be open at a different time, ranging anywhere from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. the next day. She said she believes the first food trucks may hit downtown in early April.

"What's neat about the program is that we'll be able to evaluate it and make changes to it in a timely basis," Robledo said.

She added the city took into consideration traffic, safety and visibility when it determined where the zones should be located.

Zone Locations:

  4. 300 SOUTH GAY
  5. 200 SOUTH GAY
  6. 300 DEPOT

Edwin Wong oversees the Knoxville Mobile Restaurant Association. He said he believes food trucks will give locals more late night options.

"A lot of time people are looking for quick and convenient food options as opposed to sit down [options] they may not have time for," Wong said.

More Information: Restaurant owners: Food trucks do not belong downtown

In the past, some downtown Knoxville restaurants have complained about food trucks saying that they have too much of a competitive advantage. However, Savory and Sweet food truck operator Byron Sambat said he believes the playing field is fair.

"We're all going to attract a crowd and hopefully that will be better business for everybody," he said.

The city will hold a public meeting to discuss the program and provide feedback Wednesday evening. Anyone is welcome to attend at the Southern Depot, 318 W. Depot Avenue at 5:30 p.m.

More information, including regulations, zones, and frequently asked questions can be found at


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment