Lunch wagon law upsets vendors

Abraham Jazmin
Abraham Jazmin
Donald Harris
Donald Harris
City Councilmember Tulsi Gabbard
City Councilmember Tulsi Gabbard

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As a chef, Abraham Jazmin helped open five restaurants. Now he sells his signature sandwiches out of a lunch wagon.

"I aim for about 50 to 60 people. I'd like to exceed that. But that covers me for about an hour and a-half time window for people's lunch" he said.

Over the last few weeks, Honolulu police have been enforcing a little known law that mandates vendors vacate a parking stall after only fifteen minutes or face a fine. Jazmin's been ordered to move.

"A lot of us cook to order," he said. "When we have fifteen minutes, that's like two orders already."

HPD said it's responding to complaints about lunch wagons monopolizing parking stalls.

"I pay for my meters, so it's not like I'm just parking for free," said Donald Harris, who owns Keo's Thai Kitchen.

Even customers are confused.

Clarence Edwards said he hopes the law won't drive away his favorite lunch wagons.

"When we come out here, I like to see them here. And they usually are," he said.

City Councilmember Tulsi Gabbard introduced a bill that amends the lunch wagon law and extends the time limit to two hours.

"We have small business owners who are trying to make a living and make ends meet," she said. "We want to be able to make that as easy as possible."

There are more than 200 lunch wagons licensed to do business in the state. Most are on Oahu where mobile meals are a growing movement.

"We're stimulating a little bit of economy. People are coming to spend money. We've created work for ourselves. We're able to hire friends and other people." Jazmin said.

The full council takes up the vendor bill later this month. Jazmin will testify that time is money, and the more time lunch wagons have, the better.

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