by Joshua Maloni
Trustees in the Village of Lewiston have asked The Great Foodini owner/operator Michael Attardo for more time before granting his facility contract to operate a food truck on Center Street.
Mayor Terry Collesano told Attardo he wants Deputy Mayor Bruce Sutherland to speak with the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce and local restaurant owners to gauge their opinion before the Village Board takes action.
"We don't want to rub our business people the wrong way," Collesano said during Tuesday's monthly board meeting. "They've got brick-and-mortar and high rents and high property taxes. So, we don't want to step on their toes by any means. But, if they're in favor of it, then we could probably look at it favorably."
Sutherland said he would have an answer for Attardo by the Village Board's Feb. 3 work session.
Earlier this month, Attardo sent a letter to trustees pitching his idea to open a food truck in the village. He wants to serve patrons each Friday and Saturday from about 11 p.m. until 3 a.m. During the board meeting, he said, "Food truck (dining) is a new trend in the industry. Buffalo has taken it on, and it's a big hit in Buffalo. I'd like to bring that to this area, and give that dining experience to the local community."
Attardo, 38, a Lewiston native and Lewiston-Porter High School graduate, has multiple culinary degrees and plans to serve a variety of large-portion, quality-ingredient dishes in The Great Foodini food truck, including stone-baked pizza, Cajun po'boys, barbecue pork sandwiches, chicken Caesar wraps and beef-on-weck spring roll.
He's opening after-hours to avoid competing with local eateries.
"All the restaurants in the village do close their restaurants at night, at around 11 o'clock, so I wouldn't be taking any business away from them," Attardo said. "I'd just be adding an extra venue in the village to supply food for local residents (and) the college students that are in town."
"There's plenty of people out in town those nights," he added.
Attardo is looking to park his truck somewhere between the chamber office and The Lewiston Village Pub on Center Street's east end.
"I've spoken to (co-owner) Ed Webster the other night, and he has no objections to me being in town near The Pub to conduct business on a Saturday night," Attardo said.
Trustee Vic Eydt expressed his concern that one operating food truck could lead to more applicants. Attardo said the market is smaller in Niagara County, and suggested the Buffalo-based mobile dining units are not interested in Lewiston at this time.