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Mama Kim’s ceases daytime Thayer St. operations

Food truck leaves College Hill area following altercation with Providence Police officers

Mama Kim’s Korean BBQ, a food truck mainstay on Thayer Street, will no longer operate along its normal route in 2015, wrote CEO Don Fecher in an email to The Herald.

The business, which was founded by Hyun Kim ’01 and his mother, may have some evening hours on weekends but its future in the area is uncertain, Fecher wrote.

Fecher decided to cease operations following a Dec. 17 altercation in which Providence Police officers threatened his staff and his company. The officers told Fecher he could face “arrest, tickets and towing” of the truck, he wrote.

Plouf Plouf Gastronomie, a French cuisine truck that normally operates on Thayer, tweeted Dec. 17 that food trucks in the area were “harassed and intimidated into fleeing” by Providence Police officers.

But Providence Police Lt. John Ryan said officers responded to a complaint from the local Hope Street Merchants Association that the trucks were parked in metered spaces, which is illegal according to the area’s zoning ordinances.

Officers asked Mama Kim’s, Plouf Plouf and the City Gyro food truck to relocate their vehicles, Ryan said. At Mama Kim’s specifically, officers observed that the truck did not have a visible peddler’s license, which is a requirement for food vendors.

Ryan said the incidents will lead to hearings in February for all three food trucks before the city’s Board of Licenses. Penalties resulting from these hearings can include fines or prohibition from vending food until acquisition of proper peddler’s licenses.

If a truck accumulates a certain number of violations, it may be shut down, Ryan added.
Fecher wrote that this type of treatment from the police was uncommon, adding that he usually does not “feel specifically targeted” by officers.

Ryan said while he does have an officer who normally patrols the area for violations, security has not increased since the December incident.



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