TP Features: Daniel Delaney of Vendr.TV

I realize links here to larger features I’ve written have been lessening.

It’s not because I’ve been writing less. Rather, I’ve been writing more — just more of it has gone to Technically Philly, the Web product I’m developing with two colleagues. Rather than ignore them, I hope to link out to the larger and perhaps more notable ones, just as I would for any other piece for another publication.

From back in May, I came across some notes that were left over from a feature we ran on Daniel Delaney, a University of the Arts graduate who is now running a popular food podcast.

Daniel Delaney is sorry.

He just finished a bit of a rant about how zoning laws that govern where street vendors can do business are putting a stranglehold on Philadelphia’s food cart culture, and seemed startled when I said I assumed he was now based in New York.

“I didn’t mean that as an insult,” he says. “I just look at this stuff a bit scientifically.” Read the rest here.

Like I do for others, after the jump, see the extra information that didn’t fit into the piece.

All quotations from Delaney.

  • “In New York, when you have a license to be a street vendor, you can park wherever,” Delaney says, though he added that there is coercion involved from trucks and even Mr. Softee trucks. “In Philadelphia, it’s not so competitive. You get licensing that is tied to a corner, so every vendor there started in 1970-something or 1980-something. It’s not a free-market.”
  • “Philly has a fantastic food scene, and the cart culture, well, the city’s cart culture is not my favorite.”
  • That’s when it gets into zoning and how Delaney says city laws are keeping Philadelphia’s rich food culture from spreading to the streets.
  • Delaney says Boston doesn’t allow carts and D.C. has an even smaller street vendor culture, but we should call for more here.
  • “Philly has a lot of carts, but they’re not open,” says Delaney, noting that many street cart owners here sit on licenses for decades. “You get a new vendor and — with exceptions — he’ll probably just make egg sandwiches for the rest of his life.”
  • Later this month, Delaney and crew are headed to film 20 episodes in San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, which Delaney calls the best food cart city in the country.Delaney says that a vibrant food cart culture can bring more people to the streets, helping the economy and not drawing crowds away from restaurants.
  • But some of Philadelphia simply hasn’t won him over just yet.
  • When asked about the Creperie, the king of the Temple University food truck scene, Delaney says he has to give it another shot. The one time he gave it a go, he was recently back from Paris and he says he was expecting something a bit more delicate than the heaping mass of meat and vegetables wrapped in a warm pancake.
  • “It didn’t seem right. I will have to go again,” he says. “I’m sorry.”
  • If Vendr.TV succeeds, he won’t be apologizing for long.