Chatting With the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck's Doug Quint: Ice Cream Turf Wars, Flirtatious Customers, and His New Go-Go's-Penned Jingle
Did you see that video that came out earlier this week of the fight between the two ice cream truck drivers?
Of course I saw it. It's deranged. That's a good reason to stay out of Midtown. I enjoy my home in Union Square -- there's a lot of vendor love on my corner. It's great.
Have you ever run into trouble with other ice cream vendors?
When you go to an area you're not familiar with, you run that risk. Last summer, occasionally I didn't realize [I was stopped on] some other guy's route. But you respect it, and you take off. A lot of the guys don't realize I have a different menu, but after they realize that the truck is serving other stuff, it's sort of a nonstarter. I'm not one to get into a fistfight over selling an ice cream cone, especially in a day and age when everyone has a camera on their phone!
Speaking of trouble, any news about the anti-food-truck bill that was introduced earlier this summer?
Right now, it's in a holding pattern. But I know that for a lot of my Midtown trucker friends, their tickets are skyrocketing from traffic cops. There's definitely some sort of maneuvering to put more heat on the food trucks. But the bill needed more refining before it could go anywhere. Some of it is quite warranted: Food trucks are literally on every corner.
Have you had any trouble with the cops?
No. My cops are lovely. I really think it's important for every street vendor and especially food trucker to -- I'm not going to say ingratiate themselves, but I think we owe it to everyone we work around -- brick-and-mortar restaurants, firemen, police -- we owe it to them to talk to these people rationally and not feel entitled. There are definitely some people that feel they're bringing a gift to the public.
Perhaps that will be a topic of the "State of Food Trucks" panel you're taking part in this weekend at San Francisco's Street Food Conference.
John T. Edge is moderating it. The guy really has been following the burgeoning food truck scene. One thing I love about him is that his interest lies in the Americana side, not the pretty food trucks, which mine is not one of. It's a real P.O.S., as they say. It's a junker. I think ice cream trucks should be junkers.
Any other plans while you're in San Francisco?
It's my birthday, and they're throwing a party for us at Humphry Slocombe. There are going to be drag queens and one of the Go-Go's there; our music was written by [Go-Go's guitarist-singer] Jane Wiedlin.
Wait, you have a truck jingle?
I don't play anything now and always wanted something original. People said, "Play the Village People." Hell, no! I always wanted it to be something of my own. The bells make people psychotic. I knew one driver who had to quit because the truck bells were driving him crazy. Either they don't hear it at all or it's slowly driving them to kill.
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