Hot dog cart to wheel into downtown Payette

Fruitland resident Terrence Fisher shares information about his planned food cart, Updog Street Food & Catering, with members of the Payette City Council during their regular meeting Monday. Fisher plans to operate up to four days a week on Main Street in downtown Payette.

PAYETTE — In recent years, mobile food vendors have ventured outside traditional fairgrounds and into metropolitan areas nationwide. Now, one is seeking to set up shop four days a week on Payette’s Main Street.

Fruitland resident Terrence Fisher appeared before the Payette City Council on Monday to discuss the possibility of setting up a small mobile vending food cart in downtown Payette, to operate under the moniker “Updog Street Food & Catering.” According to information provided on his license application, Fisher has also operated a commercial commissary in Boise.

“This will not only leave room for people to walk on the sidewalk, but also have the potential to bring more people to Main Street,” Fisher told the council. “It’s a small hot dog cart, and will require 8-by-12 feet of space on the sidewalk.”

In his application, Fisher said he wishes to operate for five hours a day, four times a week. His food cart would feature hot dogs, sausages, chips and soft drinks.

Fisher intends to operate the cart on the city owned sidewalk outside of 40 N. Main St, where Broken Halo Barber Shop presently operates. In his research, he said he found that the space needed to operate the cart would be minimal.

“I went to go measure the sidewalk and I saw that there’s 16 feet of room for people,” said Fisher.

It’s also a business concept Fisher said has the “full support” of downtown business neighbors.

Kent Burns, owner of Broken Halo, has already signed off on Fisher operating there through November, with his signed statement included in the application.

Councilor Craig Jensen moved to approve the license for Fisher’s business, seconded by Councilor Daniel Lopez. 

However, before a vote could be taken, Mayor Jeff Williams offered some advice to Fisher; While FIsher intends to operate mainly during lunchtime hours, Williams suggested that he be open to doing business with the late night crowds on weekends.

“I’m ‘baby-stepping’ it right now,” said Fisher, before stating he would seek permission during this meeting to operate Friday and Saturday evenings 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

He said he agreed having late night hours could be good for business in Payette.

With Fisher expressing interest in Williams’ suggestion, Councilor Lori Steiniker moved to amend the motion to approve the food cart. The council voted 6-0 to approve each of the motions.

Regarding insurance, Fisher told the council his insurance policy would cover losses up to $1 million, double the $500,000 which Payette city code requires.

There is, however, one more entity which must weigh in before Fisher can start selling hot dogs: The Idaho State Police. Williams advised him that their approval process can take up to five weeks to turn around.

“It’s something I wasn’t too clear on,” Fisher admitted.

About the waiting period, Williams said, “I sure hope they don’t take that long. As soon as we hear from them, this body says … you’re good.”

Councilor Kathy Patrick advised Fisher that he can venture into Meridian to potentially expedite their approval process at the state police office.

“It goes a whole lot faster if you go over to Meridian to do the paperwork right there in front of them,” said Patrick.

Once state police approve the food cart, Payette police chief John Plaza then must sign off before hot dogs can be served. At that point, the permit will be valid through November.

Several mobile food vendors already operate in Payette, including Smokin’ Franny’s BBQ along U.S. Highway 95 and Cemitas Poblanas Mexican Food near Albertsons.

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