DELAFIELD — Niko’s Gyros had over 500 people interested in attending its grand opening event this Saturday at the Smiley Barn as the food truck thought it had found its home for the summer.
However, that plan fell through thanks to Delafield officials calling owner Niko Markos and telling him he could not operate within the city.
Markos said he called City Hall a few weeks ago and laid out his plan of operation with the city clerk, who checked and said he could operate so long he was on private property.
But this week, Markos said he was told he couldn’t operate on private, commercial property, a distinction he found odd.
“When I talked to them at first, they didn’t specify a difference between residential and private property,” Markos said. “Which is very interesting they allow it on private property, but not commercial.”
To make matters worse, Markos said he outlined his plan to the city clerk including when he’d be there, what he was planning on doing, who he was and what he had to do in previous city’s in order to obtain permits. He said he still received a positive response from the city clerk.
“Simply put, they told me there was no regulations on food trucks as long as you’re parked on private property,” Markos said. “Unfortunately they should’ve been a lot more clear or told me no at that point, because they told me I could go ahead and do it.”
Delafield does not have a city ordinance on record that establishes whether food trucks are permitted.
City Administrator Tom Hafner said he became aware of the issue when another food truck operator saw Niko’s Gyros post on social media and asked if the city had changed their stance.
Hafner said in order for Niko’s to be able to operate at the Smiley Barn, the Smiley Barn would have to submit an updated business plan to include Niko’s Gyros on site as part of its normal business hours.
“The misunderstanding was on a residential property, you don’t need approval for a food truck,” Hafner said. “(In order to operate it not on residential property) he would need Plan Commission approval.”
Despite food trucks being a topic of heavy discussion in recent months, Hafner said there has not been formal talks among city staff about allowing or disallowing them within the city.
As for Markos, he said he is now shifting focus to finding a new place to operate.
“Hopefully I can find another location soon in the Lake Country area,” Markos said.
To get updates on where Niko’s Gyros will begin in the future, visit its Facebook page, facebook. com/NikosGyrosMobile.