If you’ve been craving something to help wash down your favorite food-truck fare, you may soon be in luck.
Food trucks throughout the state could start serving beer and wine under a bill being considered in the state House.
The proposal from Rep. Chris Reykdal, D-Tumwater, would create a special license that would allow food trucks to serve alcohol. Reykdal told a House committee this month that letting food trucks offer beer and wine “would be pretty neat.”
“It’s unique food sometimes; it’s authentic in some cases,” Reykdal said. “I just think it’s a good business opportunity for them and probably good for those who consume it.”
Right now, beer and wine licenses are available for traditional-style restaurants that have a dedicated dining area.
House Bill 1108 would allow food trucks, which typically are mobile and serve food at outdoor locations, to apply for a similar license through the state Liquor Control Board.
Under Reykdal’s proposal, food trucks would be eligible for a beer and wine license as long as they have a designated outdoor seating area and serve alcohol only to those ordering food.
The food trucks would also need to prove that their local jurisdiction allows them to serve beer and wine and that they have permission to serve alcohol from the owner of the property where they’re parked.
There are an estimated 44 food trucks licensed in Pierce County, and about 30 food trucks permitted in Thurston County, according to the counties’ health departments.
Lisa David, the co-owner of the Nineveh Assyrian food truck in Olympia, said she would enjoy the opportunity to serve alcohol to her customers. Her truck – which serves Middle Eastern specialties – is parked at the corner of Fourth Avenue East and Plum Street Southeast in Olympia.
“I think it’d be great if you could sit in our beautiful garden and have a glass of wine, or beer,” said David, who said she has previously worked as a bartender.
“I would love to figure out wine pairings for a lamb shawarma,” she added.
The restaurant industry has expressed concerns about the bill as it currently stands.
Julia Gorton, lobbyist for the Washington Restaurant Association, said the proposal could give food truck owners an unfair advantage over regular restaurants by letting them get a beer and wine license more easily.
For example, she said Reykdal’s bill wouldn’t make food trucks maintain on-site restrooms, nor would it require the trucks to to submit an alcohol control plan similar to theaters and other venues that recently became eligible for new alcohol licenses.
Reykdal said he is open to changing the bill to add some rules for food trucks, such as mandating that there be sufficient lighting to check customer’s identification.
He said he is working with restaurant industry representatives to incorporate their suggestions into a revised version of the bill.
House Bill 1108 could receive a vote in the House Committee on Commerce and Gaming as early as this week.
Before becoming law, it would need to pass both chambers of the Legislature and be sent to Gov. Jay Inslee.