FULTON, NY – The bright yellow glow coming from Fulton’s Indian Point Landing on Route 481 could be the sunset this time of year, or it could be Fulton’s newest food truck vendor – Tricky Dick’s Roadside Grille.
The shiny yellow food truck vendor began selling hotdogs, hamburgers, Philly steak sandwiches, sausage, fries and sodas just two weeks ago, “and has seen a lot of
people coming around” according to owner Nick Ippolito.
“It’s been pretty good,” he said. “The weather’s been great.”
The Volney native said over the course of the past eight months he revamped the now bright yellow food trailer especially for use at Indian Point Landing, retrofitting the inside to meet health department and city codes requirements in order to run his sandwich truck.
“It’s very busy here,” Ippolito added. “Even if we’re not selling food there’s a lot of traffic.”
With a boat launch onto the Oswego River just yards away, he said plenty of people come by for a bite to eat or a cold drink – but as many also eat from their own coolers aboard their boats.
“This is a beautiful site – it attracts a lot of people,” he added.
Now open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday – Friday, the vendor expects he might be able to stretch his season a few more weeks.
“With all this good weather, maybe we’ll even get a few weeks into November,” he said.
The Indian Point vendor entered the food truck arena just as other vendors at Bull Head Point, on Lake Neatahwanta and the state Route 3 corridor were circling the wagons after taking heat from local brick-and-mortar businesses for paying a static permit-based fee instead of tax-based fee to do business in the city.
“We’ve got Mimi’s down the road, but that’s a completely different clientele,” Ippolito added.
After a request from local business owners to review the food truck vendor permit fees, on Oct. 7, Codes Committee Chairman, Councilor James Myers, explained to the Common Council during its regular meeting that the committee had engaged in discussion on Oct. 6 regarding the permits and would be issuing its advisory soon.
“A couple things we talked about, the main thing everyone is interested in – the fee schedule,” Myers told the full council. “We all agree that it should be increased because it hasn’t been in several years. Right now it’s $750 for a yearly permit; the number of $1,000 was (considered) and possibly increasing it a little bit each year.”
Myers noted that the committee discussed making the permit cycle a calendar year, instead of a twelve month year based on the date the permit was purchased.
“That way the (city’s) budget will be passed in December,” he said, “and either there will, or there will not be a change in the fees so everybody knows ahead of time what the fee will be, and they will all be paying the same amount for the same period of time.”
The committee also discussed signage; adding the requirement that vendors pay for their electricity usage to the contract language; and not issuing permits to anyone who owes the city money for fees, permits and taxes.
The chairman said the committee also considered whether to allow vendors to amend their hours – perhaps staying open later into the evening when special occasions allow.
All this occurred the same week Ippolito opened for business, and now like the other vendors he is waiting for the final word from the city on permit fees before committing to next year.
“As soon as I know that they’ve come up with a price, I want to put in for my permit,” he said.
For his opening season, he paid $100 for the month, plus utilities.
Crystal English, owner of Shannon’s Hot Dogs food truck which has been feeding folks at Bull Head Point for 30 years, said the permit fee has been the same $750 a year since she bought the joint nine years ago. She said after the meeting last week that she expected councilors would raise the fee.
“I just want it to be fair,” she said.
“Crystal does a great job and has great food,” Ippolito said. “People know she’s there.”
Asked if he felt an increase in the permit fee to $1,000 was fair, Ippolito said his business is so new he does not yet know – but he understands that a fee increase is probably inevitable.