A street food fight has broken out in downtown Santa Rosa between restaurateurs and the growing group of food truck operators they say are eating their lunch.
Owners of brick-and-mortar restaurants are steamed that the city's has been promoting the mobile food fair known as Munch Mondays, creating additional competition at a time when they can least afford it.
"It's really a slap in the face to those restaurants who have committed themselves to the downtown in the long run," said Stuart Patterson, an owner of Flavor bistro on courthouse square.
Food Trucks In Santa Rosa
Surrounded by the steam of the Chicago Style Hot Dog cart, Katie Davis orders the Ten Dolla Make You Holla!!! sampler at the Dim Sum Charlie's trailer in the 3rd and E St. parking lot on Munch Monday.
Hundreds of people attended the first Munch Monday in the 3rd and E St. parking. Five gourmet food trailers, trucks and carts offered a wide range of great food for the downtown Santa Rosa crowd.
Brock samples some of Nate Peña's dim sum while Daisy daintily awaits her share on his lap. Brent Hammer, right, joined them and dozens of others for some curbside dining at Munch Monday.
Suzette Tyler of Santa Rosa prepares Chicago Style Hot Dogs at her wagon at parking lot across the street from the main Santa Rosa library. Four other lunch wagons were there on January 10, 2010.
This is a Chicago Style Hot Dog that was offered up at the gathering of lunch wagons in the parking lot across the street from the main Santa Rosa library. Four other lunch wagons were there on January 10, 2010.
Shay Redmond serves up a sampler for Sara Brown through the window of the Dim Sum Charlie's trailer at the first Munch Monday in the parking lot at E St. and 3rd St. in downtown Santa Rosa.
Jillian Dorman marks up her menu on her lunch wagon in the parking lot across the street from the main Santa Rosa library. Four other lunch wagons were there on January 10, 2010.
Some of the lunch wagons at the parking lot across the street from the main Santa Rosa library. January 10, 2010.
A basket of dim sum from Dim Sum Charile's at Munch Monday.
Alma Mendez supplied Mexican food from her La Texanita truck at Munch Monday.
The pulled pork sandwich and chips from the Street-eatz Mobile Kitchen at Munch Monday.
Dim Sum Charlie was at the gathering of lunch wagons at the parking lot across the street from the main Santa Rosa library. This is the siu mai that he offered. Four other lunch wagons were there on January 10, 2010.
(l to r) Denise Marquez, Robin Petersen, Amanda Martin and Dane Dalbalcon joined dozens of people for some curbside dining at Munch Monday.
Clayton Lewis steams up the Dim Sum Charlie's truck on Munch Monday.
The "New Orleans" pasta from the Street-eatz Mobile Kitchen at Munch Monday.
(l to r) John Mackie, Dawn Ross and Simon Inman said the dim sum was "fabulous" at Munch Monday.
Juliana Lossi, left, and Jenny Caton enjoy their lunch at Munch Monday in Santa Rosa on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011. Christopher Chung/ Press Democr
Jeff Tyler serves up Chicago Style Hot Dogs from his cart at the first Munch Monday in Santa Rosa.
Street-Eatz Flavors of the World co-owner Jillian Dorman, left, grabs an order for a customer from Delfino Solorio during Munch Monday in Santa Rosa on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011. Christopher Chung/ Press Democr
But the street food vendors say the restaurant owners need to spend less time trying to protect their turf and more time adapting to changes in the market and thinking about the big picture of a healthy downtown.
"I think if they made the best of it, they'd realize that a rising tide lifts all boats," said Andrew Siegal, co-owner of Dim Sum Charlie's, a Napa-based business with two trucks, a third in the works, and plans for a total of 12.
Munch Mondays started Jan. 10 with a five mobile kitchens and food carts converging on a city parking lot on Third Street south of the library. To help them get around a city ordinance that requires such trucks to move every 30 minutes, city staff helped organize, promote and permit the event. The trial period lasts eight weeks.
On Monday there were seven vendors and discussions are underway to expand to an evening event in Railroad Square.
The goal was to spice up the city's food scene, help Santa Rosa take part in a nationwide trend, and draw some needed attention to the downtown scene, said city economic development specialist Raissa De La Rosa.
"If we don't do that, the downtown can feel stale," she said.
City promotions also urged people to patronize downtown restaurants, but that fact appears to have been lost on many restaurant owners.