Sep 25, 2022 - Food and Drink

Smoker showdown: Minneapolis barbecue trucks say "archaic" city rule threatens business

The exterior of a red and purple food truck.

Animales Barbeque's food truck. Photo by Brandon Werth, courtesy of Animales Barbeque

Animales Barbeque says enforcement of an "archaic" city ordinance may soon put a damper on its meat-smoking operation.

The issue: Current Minneapolis city code says food trucks can't have equipment outside the truck.

That means the offset smokers used by businesses like Animales and Boomin Barbecue are technically off-limits.

Threat level: Serious if you're a fan of smoked meats — Animales and Boomin serve some of the best barbecue in the state.

Yes, but: City leaders, including officials with the health department and the city attorney's office, are working on a fix.

  • "These awesome local joints are putting Minneapolis on the BBQ map, and we will find a way to keep them smoking," Mayor Jacob Frey told Axios in a statement.

The intrigue: It's not clear why the ordinance, which also applies to common food truck features such as picnic tables and trash cans, is being enforced now.

  • Owners of both trucks says health inspectors haven't raised the issue in the past.

Situational awareness: Both trucks operate from fixed locations — Animales is at Bauhaus Brew Labs and Boomin is outside the craft beer store Ombibulous.

  • Animales owner Jon Wipfli told Axios the rules were created when food trucks primarily parked downtown for lunch service on food truck row. He argues they should be updated to reflect current trends.

What they're saying: Wipfli said Sunday that while city leaders have been helpful, he's still waiting on a resolution.

  • “I know they don’t want us to relocate to the suburbs, where the food we’re cooking and in the manner we’re cooking it would be welcomed," he said.

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