Ithaca, N.Y. — It’s far from being a done deal, but there’s reason to be encouraged that the Hot Truck will remain a part of the Cornell and Ithaca communities.

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That’s according to Albert Smith, owner of ShortStop Deli and the Hot Truck, who says the truck will be forced to shut down if it’s not given the right kind of permit to move to Ithaca’s Collegetown.

It’s unclear if the city will give the Hot Truck the permit. However, after a meeting of Ithaca’s Board of Public Works on Monday, Smith says he’s more hopeful that the Hot Truck will be able to continue than he was beforehand. He said the board seemed open to figuring out a solution.

“I am more optimistic than I was a week ago,” Smith said. “I was very pleased that the board allowed me to go forward pursuing additional information … last night, they could have said no — and they didn’t do that.”

Though considered an icon of Cornell’s West Campus, the Hot Truck will have to move from its current location on Stewart Avenue because there is no longer enough foot traffic to sustain it, according to Smith.

Smith said he is seeking approval from the city to move it to a new location at the intersection of Eddy Street and Dryden Road.

To do so, he says he will need to keep his prior “Heritage Permit” that allows the Hot Truck to operate by plugging into a power source rather than using a compressor. Smith said the truck was built to be plugged in at Cornell’s request, since a compressor would be much noisier and possibly a disruption on campus; now, however, it would be prohibitively expensive for him to buy a new truck with a compressor.

The board agreed to talk to other city departments before moving forward with a decision about whether or not to grant the permits, according to Smith.


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.