Another street-food saga: What happened to the hot-dog cart

Back in late February (original WSB story here), a Hot Dog Joes cart set up shop outside Beveridge Place Pub. Within weeks, it was gone. A few people e-mailed us wondering why; we recalled hearing that the cart was set up for a trial period, so didn’t look further until a recent tip that led us to get in touch with Hot Dog Joes proprietor Joe Jeannot (not pictured – photo shows the staffer on duty when we took the pic in Feb.). In a phone conversation, Jeannot told WSB, there is indeed more to the story. He says they folded up after two city-issued citations ($500 each): “City ordinances are making it tough for us to be there.” Street vendors usually deal with the Seattle Department of Transportation, but in this case, there’s a complicating factor – the new park next door. Vendors aren’t allowed to be within 200 feet of parks (here’s the specific Seattle Municipal Code section), and Jeannot says that rule puzzles him: “You can have bars next to a park, but hot-dog carts can’t be there?” He says that’s not the only problem, though, claiming a “lack of communication” from the city but not wanting to disclose full details. “We thought we’d resolve it quickly – I’ve opened carts all over Seattle and this is the first time it’s become this serious … I’ve been doing this with the city for 11 years, but this time it’s been a very long process,” said Jeannot – who by the way lives here in West Seattle, where he says he’s been trying to acquire a location for a long time: “I can’t believe I can’t get a hot dog cart in my own neighborhood.” We’ll keep following up on this to let you know what happens next. (And if you have another idea for what might be a hospitable West Seattle location without conflicts such as park proximity, Jeannot says he might be interested, observing that street vending would seem to be right in line with the Seattle philosophy of trying to encourage more walking, less driving.)

ADDED 1:35 PM: Side note from a discussion in comments – The city did issue a “request for proposals” this year for vendors INSIDE several of the city’s largest parks; in West Seattle, that included only Alki and Lincoln Park (Colman Pool), but no provision for vendors in OR near all the other parks. On a side note to the side note, we asked Parks who won the Alki/Lincoln vending contracts; Dewey Potter says both went to “The Cowboys, who will provide soft-serve ice cream, snacks, and drinks.”

29 Replies to "Another street-food saga: What happened to the hot-dog cart"

  • Sage May 13, 2009 (12:36 pm)

    Wow, can’t believe vendors are barred from parks by law. Seems like repealing that law (but maintaining some regulation & profit sharing — maybe some % of sales to the parks dept.) would do wonders for activating more of our public space. Anyone know what motivated the city to make vending illegal in situations like this?

  • Save Our Streets Seattle May 13, 2009 (12:57 pm)

    How about a cart out in front of the stupid Parks & Rec offices! What a bureaucratic clusterfrank! Do you pay “rent” for your cart locations? Westwood Village should pay YOU to set up near the post office. You’d rake it in! There are hundreds of hungry post office patrons (like myself) who’d find that convenient! Best of luck fighting this city’s maze of regulations. It’s like Seattle doesn’t want small business in the city limits. I wish I’d bought my home in King Co. As a small business owner, I feel your regulatory pain.

  • sam May 13, 2009 (12:58 pm)

    that seems backwards; I’d think that a park is just the RIGHT spot to have street vendors nearby. are they worried about trash ?

    yes to encouraging more pedestrianism and more vibrant street life.

  • WSB May 13, 2009 (1:02 pm)

    The city does issue some permits for vending IN its larger parks, but this rule says you can’t vend NEAR a park. I was going to try to research when this law took effect, not sure how far back I’ll have to wander into the internet archives …

  • GenHillOne May 13, 2009 (1:17 pm)

    So I’m guessing that a vendor NEAR a park would interfere with business of the vendor who paid to be permitted IN a park. But I bet those permits are one-hit-wonders and paying to be IN a park longterm isn’t financially feasible for the vendor. So it’s a moot point even though the city doesn’t want to lose the option of selling those permits. How’s that working out, guys? Permit sales brisk? Sure would be nice to see a family enjoying their brats in the new park. Silly, short-sighted thinking.

  • GenHillOne May 13, 2009 (1:18 pm)

    LOL, “brats” – just realized that could be read two ways…I’m sure the kids would be perfectly well-behaved while eating their hotdogs ;)

  • WSB May 13, 2009 (1:32 pm)

    I just read the city RFP for this summer and the only West Seattle parks involved were Alki and Lincoln (Colman Pool) – I am checking with Parks for a side note to see who won those contracts. But that still lets out all the other parks around here … including this one. LOL on the brats, btw.

  • Gail Goodrich May 13, 2009 (2:18 pm)

    Just one more example of the bureaucrats stifling entrepenureship and creativity.


  • Vegemite May 13, 2009 (2:31 pm)

    Surrounding our new park are three restaurant/pubs that serve alcohol as well as a convenience store that sells mostly porn, knives, and booze. Good choice to crack down on a local hot dog stand! If we let that continue, our kids might grow up to be both sober and entrepreneurial!

  • WSB May 13, 2009 (2:33 pm)

    Caution that “the rest of the story” may turn out to be more than just the 200-foot rule. SDOT says it should have more info on the specifics for us by tomorrow. However, we are also looking into the background of the 200-foot rule itself.

  • Admiral Lady May 13, 2009 (2:35 pm)

    OH lord! Why the regualtion?! Ugh… wish the govt would just get out of The People’s way so we can have our hot dogs

  • MrJT May 13, 2009 (2:37 pm)

    SDOT can’t tell bare pavement from 10 inches of compacted snow/ice. How the he!! do they know what 200 feet is ?

  • Mike May 13, 2009 (2:47 pm)

    I thought it was genius to put a hot dog stand outside the Beverage Place. Those places make good money handing out exactly what patrons are looking for after some beers.

    City needs to clear out the drug addicts and people camping at night in parks. Time to put our tax dollars to better use and stop going after the small business that’s providing services and product we WANT.

    I think it’s time to clean up the City of Seattle, starting with the mayor leaving office. Can we get Stamper back as Police chief?

  • mike green May 13, 2009 (3:21 pm)

    I think you have to pay “guido” and then the city lets you have
    your hot dog stand.

  • Save Our Streets Seattle May 13, 2009 (3:22 pm)

    Vegemite and MrJT: Thanks for the humorous insights. It really highlights the silliness of a “200 ft” rule for hot dogs being enforced to the tune of $1000 penalties for a small local business while crime runs rampant in West Seattle costing burglary victims many thousands of dollars.

    Seattle, your priorities are SO far out of whack with reality it’s starting to get scary out here.

  • Stacey May 13, 2009 (3:32 pm)

    I would love to pay “guido” and actually be able to get stuff done in this stupid burg. No organized crime is exactly why nothing’s gotten built in Seattle for the last 40 years.

  • Chris May 13, 2009 (3:38 pm)

    When did the law go on the books? Can’t help but wonder if it was a way to keep sidewalk vendors away from Safeco entrances without raising a “public funding to build it” debate.

  • onceachef May 13, 2009 (4:39 pm)

    BPP should set it up inside…near the back or outer deck…now there’s an idea…but I’m sure that breaks some other law!

  • Mike May 13, 2009 (5:37 pm)

    “No organized crime is exactly why nothing’s gotten built in Seattle for the last 40 years”

    Huh? Have you even lived here for the past 10, 20 or 30 years? This place has boomed in construction.

    Last thing we want is MORE organized crime.

  • CB May 13, 2009 (7:07 pm)

    2 murders this year in West Seattle and this is what the city of Seattle is worried about?

  • hot dogs 4 all May 14, 2009 (8:09 am)

    He needs to be recouped those $500 fines because I am sure he can’t afford it and its a STUPID rule! That cart looked great there and he had customers with Beveridge Place, Feedback and the park. This needs to be changed NOW! It’s idiotic.

  • Bettytheyeti May 14, 2009 (9:50 am)

    Good point Sage. No food carts near a bar rule, ri-cock=ulous (read ridiculous, absurd, preposterous.) Truly, if common sense were the rule, there would be no parking spaces within 200 feet, because it is illegal to drink and drive! And what do you think is happening a pub or bar that doesn’t serve food? I agree this rule needs to change. There are surprisingly, advocates against “anything” on the sidewalk, foods carts especially. Food cart trauma during childhood, I don’t know? I have heard them speak against the cart. I was shocked this community person was so perturbed. They know the fine rules that allows them to have their way. The law needs to change.

  • Vegemite May 14, 2009 (2:23 pm)

    Right. Fine. We’re all in agreement. Hot dog stands are good. The 200 foot rule is crud. Now what?

  • Steve May 14, 2009 (2:40 pm)

    alternate location- how about high point?

  • Tonya May 14, 2009 (3:30 pm)

    There is something wrong when a city(governement) hinders a small business.
    Wonder what that is????

  • Yardvark May 14, 2009 (4:04 pm)

    How do we gain control of our local parks then?
    We’re the ones that use them.
    We should be the ones who decide what’s allowed within them and beside them.
    Having it is the hands of the massive Department of Transportation seems inefficient and not in our best interests.
    Is there a reason the community councils can’t be empowered with this local element of the municipal code?

  • WSB May 14, 2009 (4:11 pm)

    I’ve gotten some more followup info on this today from SDOT so stand by for the next chapter, working on it now … TR

  • Bob May 14, 2009 (4:59 pm)

    What do you expect from socialists who have nothing better to do than regulate every aspect of your life?

  • Vegemite May 14, 2009 (7:21 pm)

    I expect that they’ll want to destroy my right to die and to marry who I please. Oh, no wait…that’s the conservatives.
    Anyhow, back to hotdogs….

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