MANCHESTER — The taste of the Caribbean is coming to Manchester by way of a Jamaican food trailer that will be setting up across from rk Miles.
The Manchester Select Board approved a request by Everton Brownie, the applicant for the food trailer, to approve his plans to set a 12-foot trailer in the back corner of the parking lot behind H&R Block on Depot Street across from rk Miles.
Brownie is from Jamaica and told the board he plans to bring authentic food from the Caribbean to town as soon as Aug. 20 with the intention of staying open until the end of November, then returning May 1 next year.
In an interview, Brownie said he has been in the area for more than 18 years.
"I worked in the hotel and restaurant industry until I realized that we need a taste of the Caribbean here," Brownie said.
Brownie posted about his plans on his Facebook page three weeks ago with a video showing some of the food, calling it a mixture of Jamaican and American, or Jamerican Cuisine.
That video has been seen nearly 3,000 times and widely shared.
His yellow, black and green trailer, painted to resemble the Jamaican flag, is awaiting decals and name to be stenciled on.
He told the board he has people interested in coming from miles in all directions.
The board briefly discussed concerns that restaurant owners express about food trucks and trailers not having to invest in locations and competing against them for business.
But select board vice chairman Wayne Bell said that the town is in a different place right now with the emergency going on and the town has gone out of its way to be helpful to all businesses in whatever way possible.
The board agreed they may have to revisit their vending policies at some point but for now, they thought Brownie's plans and location were OK.
They also talked about revisiting the rules regulating whether these food trailers and food carts could have a limited number of places for seating.
The board could not tackle that because it wasn't warned but promised to revisit it soon.
"We all really appreciate what vending brings to the streetscape," said board chair Ivan Beattie. "It brings energy and excitement."
Main Street Parking
The board also tackled a parking issue on the one-block area of Main Street just north of the Evelyn Street roundabout where four restaurants operate.
Thai Basil, Christos' Pizza & Pasta, Mystic Cafe & Wine Bar, and Union Underground are all located in that small section of Main Street.
With most restaurants converting largely to pick-up or curbside service, the lack of parking and space to easily pick up to-go orders, the board has made it easier.
Board member Greg Cutler said he thought there should be one on each side of the street.
Bell, the vice-chair, supported that contention.
"Many businesses, without warning, have turned into pick-up businesses," Bell said. "I think this is the least we can do to accommodate them at this point."
The board changed the status of two parking spots, one on each side of the street, into 10-minute only spaces to facilitate customers picking up a to-go order from one of the nearby restaurants.
It was pointed out that it wouldn't only benefit restaurants as there is a bank and other businesses whose customers could utilize those short-term parking spots as well.
With those two spots identified, select board members also considered adding more temporary parking spots in the area, but will wait to look at how it goes.
Contact Darren Marcy at email@example.com or by cell at 802-681-6534.