Door County business threatens to sue Town of Gibraltar over food truck

White Cottage Red Door's food truck sits in their parking lot in May 2018 (WBAY photo)
White Cottage Red Door's food truck sits in their parking lot in May 2018 (WBAY photo)(WBAY)
Published: May. 10, 2018 at 6:27 PM CDT
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A Door County business threatens to sue the Town Of Gibraltar, all because of a food truck.

White Cottage Red Door in Fish Creek wants to open the mobile grub hub in its own parking lot, but the Town Of Gibraltar made it illegal to operate a businesses on wheels. The store is known for having "everything cherry."

Owners of White Cottage Red Door and the Institute for Justice served a notice of claim to the Town of Gibraltar Wednesday, asking the town board to lift the ban on mobile businesses. The pair says the ordinance is unfair because it does not allow people to make a livelihood.

“It's been very discouraging. We would've hoped that we would've been welcomed by the town board and that we could have had some communication and worked together maybe to figure out a solution, and you know maybe it wouldn't have come to this," said Lisa Howard, co-owner of White Cottage Red Door.

Howard says her barbecue and burger food truck is already state- and county-approved.

"A town does not have the power to trump the state's licensing actions. No town can ban what a state has licensed, and separately the Town of Gibraltar's vending ban is not only illegal, it is also unconstitutional. Thanks to Wisconsin's constitution, Gibraltar can't run White Cottage Red Door and other vendors out of town just to line the pockets of established businesses," said Milad Emam, an attorney with the Institute for Justice.

The Town of Gibraltar has 120 days to get rid of their mobile vending ban ordinance as demanded by White Cottage Red Door. If the town board decides to keep that mobile vending ban, then White Cottage Red Door will proceed with a lawsuit.

White Cottage Red Door may see this ordinance as unfair, but Door County restaurant owner Kim Jensen says food trucks would take away from her livelihood.

“We understand, you know, everybody wants a little piece of the pie in Door County. However, our piece of the pie is so small, we're very seasonal, so I think the real issue here is for me as an example, I own four properties for restaurants, and for someone to bring in a food truck who doesn't have a restaurant, that’s taking away from my livelihood," said Jensen, who owns a restaurant in Gibraltar.

Attempts to reach the Gibraltar town board were unsuccessful.