Tag Archives: food cart

Food Fight: Bayside biz say food carts hurt


| mchan@queenscourier.com

The Courier/Photo by Melissa Chan

Bayside business owners say mobile food vendors that are popping up in the area and setting up shop near established eateries may be carting revenue away from them.

According to Sammy An, owner of Cue Bar on Bell Boulevard, a piggybacking Halal food cart vendor’s 24-hour service has robbed him of income.

“I keep seeing people walking out [of my restaurant], spending their money there and coming back to keep drinking,” An said. “But I have the kitchen open, and it takes away revenue.”

An — who said he pays about $26,000 a month for rent — said he also finds himself picking up after messes left behind by his competitor, who surfaced less than a month ago, in order to avoid being pinned for littering.

Majid Khan, owner of the Halal stand, heavily disputed the claims.

“If they believe we’re taking business away from them, they’re wrong,” Khan said. “If people like food from the restaurant, they’re going to go to the restaurant. If people like Halal food, they’re going to get food from us. You can’t stop anyone.”

According to Susan Seinfeld, district manager of Community Board 11, about a dozen home and business owners have filed complaints about the rise in food carts in northeast Queens.

Amongst concerns about the uncleanliness and clutter, Seinfeld said residents are more than displeased with how the carts have harmed the aesthetics of the area.
“This is not an addition they bargained for,” she said. “They want to keep the area low density, almost suburban, with trees lining the block. People keep everything neat and clean here, and they feel the food carts are unattractive.”

Seinfeld said the problem extends outside of the borough, but within Bayside alone she said the heavy hitters are located on Northern and Bell Boulevards, 73rd Avenue and Bell Boulevard, and Springfield Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway.

According to Councilmember Mark Weprin, the City Council held hearings last week to discuss the growing issues. He said there are still “a lot of questions we’re trying to get answers to” before a real solution can be reached.

“I’m very concerned about the unfair competition these food carts create for local merchants,” he said. “There should be some limit as to where they can set up.”

John Amanatidis, owner of a grilled food stand on Northern and Bell Boulevards, said it’s all about coexisting with local businesses.

A neighborhood staple for 15 years, he said he closes up shop between 6 and 7 p.m. before the dinner rush begins at nearby restaurants.

“I leave. I respect them,” Amanatidis said. “But I have four kids. I have to pay rent, the bills and my taxes.”

Armed bandit targeting food cart vendors, police say


| brennison@queenscourier.com

302-12 QRS Pattern 41-Photo

An armed bandit has been targeting food carts throughout Queens, according to police.

Over the past two weeks, the suspect is wanted in connection with nine robberies in Elmhurst, Rego Park and Ozone Park, police said.

All the robberies have occurred between midnight and 5 a.m. with the suspect approaching the victims with a gun and demanding money. Eight of the victims have been of food cart vendors with the ninth being a livery cab driver.

The first three robberies took place on Friday, March 2. The suspect struck twice more on Monday, March 5 and four times on Saturday, March 10, according to authorities.

Police described the suspect as a white or Hispanic male between 20-25 years old, 5-feet-10-inches tall, 150-170 pounds.

Anyone with information in regards to any of these robberies is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are confidential.