Changes to Raleigh hot dog vendor hours hit pushcart owners

Changes to Raleigh hot dog vendor hours hit pushcart owners

RALEIGH, N.C. — As people gather for the holidays, more crowds are pouring into bars to reunite with friends and family too. 


What You Need To Know

The Raleigh City Council approved an ordinance that moves up pushcarts’ closing time to 1:15 a.m. from 3 a.m. 

The change hurts pushcart owners, says Waled Elwik, who has been operating a pushcart in downtown Raleigh for nearly 20 years 

He says he will lose 80% of his income because of the change and expects drunk driving accidents to soar because bar patrons will have less food available after bars close  


But many may see a change to their food options once the bars close in the early hours of the morning, because on Dec. 16 a significant change to some late-night options went into effect. 

For nearly 20 years, Waled Elwik has owned and operated a pushcart in downtown Raleigh, and last week was the first evening he had to close almost two hours early because of a Raleigh City Council decision. Pushcarts were formerly allowed to operate until 3 a.m., but now must close by 1:15 a.m.

“Like 80% of our income is going to go away, and it’s not worth it to come early,” Elwik said. “I got here at like 7 and have only sold two hot dogs.”

He’s infuriated by the change that will impact more than his daily sales.

“Where am I going to get my mortgage from? How am I going to provide for my family? It’s not going to affect one person, you’re affecting families,” Elwik said.

Earlier this year, the Raleigh City Council voted 7-1 on an ordinance to reduce the operating hours of pushcarts.

The measure was intended as an effort to clear congested sidewalks and stop noise afterhours, especially along Glenwood Avenue. Police told council members there were safety issues with crowds lingering along streets after bars closed.

Councilmember Jonathan Melton voted against the ordinance because he worried about the impacts limiting the hours would have on small businesses and customers.

“I don’t understand it,” Elwik said. “They’re trying to help a lot of small businesses, but we’re the smallest business. Come help us.”

He believes an even bigger impact will be a spike in drunk driving accidents.

“More than 50% of the people who come out of the clubs, they still drive,” he said. “They try to get something in their stomach to sober up so they come to us for a hot dog just to help them drive home safe.”

The Raleigh City Council cited the availability of ride shares and fast food joints to limit the pushcart sales and long lines after bars close.

Elwik says that he will abide by the city council’s ruling but that the small change will have a large impact.

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