by Ian Froeb
At first glance the map of permissible vending locations that the City of St. Louis provides to newly licensed food trucks looks like the damage report from a London Blitz-style air strike downtown. A red dot marks the entrance of every brick-and-mortar restaurant, and a pale blue circle surrounds each dot, marking a 200-foot radius within which food trucks aren't allowed to park. The map covers nearly all of downtown, bounded by Interstate 70/55 to the east, 18th Street to the west, Cole Street to the north and Chouteau Avenue to the south. In the heart of downtown, where most office workers are concentrated and, consequently, where food-truck operators most want to be, those pale blue circles overlap again and again, forming an almost-contiguous quilt of off-limits real estate.