Bring street food to Beale Street Landing

I originally started this as tweets, but I realized that once you are on your fourth tweet, it’s time to write a blog post instead.

A letter to the editor in the January 2 Commercial Appeal caught my eye. The author suggested ways to restore the Beale Street Landing area.

One of the author’s suggestions involves food. He says, “Riverfront Development Corp. supporters have long complained that you can’t buy a Coke and hot dog on the riverfront. Let’s fix that problem by adding a snack bar.”

I am all in favor of being able to get a bite to eat while downtown, but I suggest a different approach because I see problems with the snack bar idea. Problem, really. Money. The snack bar idea requires that money be spent to build a building. And far worse than building the building will be maintaining the building. I may be too cynical, but I have little to no faith that the city will properly maintain such a building. I fear that in ten years time, we will have nothing more than an eyesore.

I would propose instead that Memphis and Shelby County Health Department rules be changed to allow more street food in the city. Instead of spending taxpayer money on a snack bar, allow entrepreneurs like Christopher McRae of Main St. Hound Dogs to foot the bill for equipment and upkeep. Doing so will allow for a wider range of food options and will bring more personality to the area.

I don’t want to seem as if I disagree with the letter writer. In fact, I strongly support his ideas. I just happen to have my own “hey, wouldn’t it be cool?” idea to contribute.

The letter was written by Michael Cromer, from the Memphis Cobblestones website. He and the fine folks at Friends for Our Riverfront are doing an excellent job putting out information on what is going on with the Riverfront Development Corp. and what should be our public spaces.

If you aren’t already, I encourage you to visit their websites and learn what is happening downtown. Our riverfront is the city’s most iconic and historic area. It should be protected.

And dammit, I should be able to buy a hot dog or a taco down there.

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