In an effort to boost tourism and generate revenue for local businesses this summer, the city plans to allow food trucks to operate near the beach for the first time.
At the March 18 Chamber of Commerce meeting at the Allegria Hotel, City Manager Jack Schnirman said that the initiative is aimed at attracting visitors to Long Beach — which may likely be without a boardwalk during the busy summer months — to help local restaurants during the city’s busiest season.
“The first place we’re talking about doing it is at the end of Riverside Boulevard,” Schnirman said. “It’s a way of saying, hey, Long Beach has some phenomenal food — if you come off the train, have the food; if you’re on the beach, have the food. People said during our boardwalk public engagement process that they were looking for more food options, so let’s give it to them.”
Schnirman said that the permit process is being finalized. The move is part of a broader effort by the city, the chamber and the Barrier Island Alliance — a coalition of groups that includes the Long Beach Surfer’s and West End Neighbors Civic associations, formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy — to help local businesses that continue to struggle five months after the storm. Those efforts include “pumping adrenaline” into the city to support businesses, improving its appearance and initiating an advertising campaign to remind potential visitors that Long Beach is open for business, Schnirman said.
“We’ve been chatting with the chamber about some of the things we can continue to do for businesses, and there’s universal agreement that our businesses need more events and more ways to bring folks into the city this summer,” he said. “And we’re working on … marketing the city in a way that we never had to in the past.”
The organizations are discussing the possibility of allowing local businesses to set up food and retail service on the streets near the boardwalk, and holding two large street fairs that would feature local merchants, restaurants and delis as well as three or four smaller fairs and child-friendly amusements in the West End.