Those two words on Animales Barbeque Company's social media post ended weeks of uncertainty, at least temporarily, for a handful of Minneapolis food trucks after officials informed them they were violating a city ordinance. But where do things stand, and how did we get here? Here's a recap.
The story: Last week, local food trucks Animales Barbeque Co., Boomin Barbecue and Fare Game all announced on social media that their seasons would come to a premature close after the city of Minneapolis informed them they couldn't operate their external smokers after Sept. 30.
The update: The city ordinance that would have made them shut down their smokers Oct. 1 won't be enforced. "The city is letting us run our smokers through November," Animales said in a social media post. The longer answer as to what happened and what this means for the food trucks in 2023 is more complicated.
The background: Shortly after a July "Texas Monthly" article lauded Animales and Boomin as two barbecue destinations worthy of a cross-country road trip, the barbecue businesses were issued a warning from the city of Minneapolis that their smokers were not in compliance with their food truck permits. A Minneapolis city ordinance, created in the early days of food trucks, states that food trucks and trailers can't have any equipment outside their space — no garbage cans, seating or giant meat smokers churning out barbecue.
The food trucks, which had passed previous health inspections, were given until the end of September to operate before they needed to stop using the external smokers and comply with the ordinance.
Going public: The chef/owners of the food trucks worked with officials behind the scenes before calling for the public's help last weekend. Outcry and online support from customers, chefs and even city officials swiftly followed.
Meantime, all three businesses made concessions with the hopes of working with the city to be able to continue their operations. Jon Wipfli of Animales said he could continue to operate without his new giant smoker and bring some of his business inside, but it would be rough and drop barbecue production precipitously. Dylan Boerboom of Boomin Barbecue removed the tables outside of his trailer at Ombibulous. And Jason Sawicki of Fare Game made plans to move the business from the parking lot on 29th and Johnson to inside Tattersall Distilling in Northeast.
After pleas to Minneapolis City Council members and Mayor Jacob Frey, the vendors announced they would be free to serve another day, or at least longer into the fall season. Boomin Barbecue shared via social media on Sept. 28, just days before the October deadline, that the city has extended their use of the smoker through the end of November. Frey has voiced his support for the trucks: "We will find a way to keep them smoking," he said in a statement. "We are going to find a legal way to make this work."
But can you still get barbecue? For now, yes. Boomin Barbecue will carry on for the rest of this season as long as the weather cooperates, and then will hibernate as usual over the colder months. They're still fighting to be able to bring back their picnic tables, where guests usually post up to enjoy ribs and burgers. Animales will fold its burger and barbecue operations together at Bauhaus Brew Labs after Able Seedhouse + Brewery, which housed the burger truck, announced it was closing. Animales will continue to smoke meats and serve burgers, although with a condensed menu. And Fare Game had already been planning to close up shop and take a short break before moving operations indoors to Tattersall Distilling.
What's next: According to Boomin Barbecue, "Ultimately any ordinance changes will come down to a public hearing." The businesses are hoping street food fans will show up when the hearing, which hasn't been scheduled yet, is held. Animales said: "After November we're going to work with the city to change the ordinances around smokers and permanent food trucks at breweries. It took an entire city to get their attention, but with your help we did it."
Where to find them this weekend: Boomin Barbecue is parked outside Ombibulous, 949 Hennepin Av. E., Mpls., Thu.-Sun. beginning at 11 a.m. until sold out. Animales is outside Bauhaus Brew Labs, 1315 NE. Tyler St., Mpls., and is open 4:30-8 p.m. Wed., 4:30-8:30 Thu.-Fri. and noon-8 p.m. Sat. Both take online preorders. Fare Game, at 2900 NE. Johnson St., Mpls., opens at 4 p.m. Sept. 30 and will then move to its new digs inside Tattersall Distilling (1620 Central Av. NE., Mpls.).