MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - "If we could get the laws to change in Myrtle Beach, that would be dandy," Kurbside Katering food truck owner Kerry Ragland said as he flipped onions and steak for his signature sandwich. Ragland started his food truck after Myrtle Beach's April food truck festival, and has helped the cause to legalize the trucks inside city limits since.
There's only a handful of food trucks in the Myrtle Beach area, but they're banding together to compromise with city leaders to sell inside city limits. Horry County legalized food trucks, with a vending permit, a few years ago. Ragland and co-food truckers are struggling for similar Myrtle Beach rights. They've petitioned at Myrtle Beach City Council and an ordinance amendment discussion took place at the city's planning commission meeting this past week, but it seems any legalization is a ways down the road.
Some city council members are for food truck sales in the city, and others, including Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes, are against them. Those against believe food trucks will take away from the city's brick-and-mortar restaurants, but Ragland disagrees. He claims his $45,000 restaurant on wheels is another business wanting to open shop inside city limits.
"They say that's not a lot but if someone comes into the city of Myrtle Beach and rents for $2,000 a month and puts $10,000 in it…well, they don't own the building. They just come in and they open a place up cheaper than what I paid for this truck, and I built this truck. It took me a year and a half to build this truck," Ragland said.
So instead of waiting on a city decision, Ragland began selling inside one of several Horry County-owned pieces of land inside of Myrtle Beach. Those county-owned properties are referred to as 'donut holes' inside the city. Many of those donut holes are car dealerships, which Ragland frequents. He said they provide the walking and office traffic his business needs to survive.
Ragland said he and his food truck friends would like to at least be able to make a 'horseshoe' to gather at sites like the Old Pavilion or the old Myrtle Beach Mall site if they won't be allowed to sell on the city's streets. He said he'd be more than happy to park at a meter and sell, like Charleston food trucks do.
"Every city, every town, every state is doing it...why are we the last to be doing this?" Ragland asked. Food truck owners believe their style would bring culture and good, affordable meal options to people in Myrtle Beach.