The Success of Food Cart Deregulation

By Matthew Yglesias

Back on the 16th, Spencer Ackerman blogged about the Fojol Bros. food cart and on the 17th Amelia at Gradually Greener mentioned the SweetFlo mobile fro-yo cart. I haven’t been to either, but people seem to like both. And I have been enjoying the Korean cart on K Street west of 15th.

The point I would like to make about this is that if it seems like there’s been a recent explosion of food cart activity in DC, you’re not mistaken. And it’s not a coincidence either. The city loosened food cart regulations last summer and DC has been reaping the benefits ever since. Back in the day, whining about the paucity of good food carts used to be a staple DC whine. And while I wouldn’t say that the situation today is excellent, we’ve definitely bent the curve in the right direction. With the new wave of carts succeeding, and a giant recession destroying the economy of every US metro area except DC and Houston, we should expect to see more cart entrepreneurs coming to town bringing more competition and more pressure for quality.

The moral of the story is something that I like to emphasize—local government and politics matters more than you realize. If something about the place you live seems to suck, there’s probably a reason and a solution.


2 responses to “The Success of Food Cart Deregulation

  1. Matt,

    You should also try one of the On The Fly green smartkarts they are mostly around the Mall but one is always at the Zoo (you can get locations from @OnTheFlyDC).

    I bet if you had their tacos you would have to update this post! So good….

    keep up the good work love this blog and your home base blog


  2. People at Toronto city hall need to read this. Our “pilot project” food cart program is tanking in part due to health regulations.

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