Schmidt's Sausage

Worthington allows 90-day food-truck experiment

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The Schmidt's Sausage Truck will be parked at High and North streets every Tuesday through at least Aug. 5.

Sharon Powers was driving along High Street on a recent Tuesday evening, and she did a double-take.

Was that a food truck -- in Worthington?

It was -- and will continue to be for the next three months -- Worthington's first experiment into the food-truck trend.

Schmidt's Sausage Truck will be parked in the lot at Sprint Lube, on the northwest corner of High and North streets, each Tuesday through at least Aug. 5. That is when its city permit expires, and city leaders will decide whether the city should delve deeper into food-truck wars.

"Ninety days will give us time to look and see if there are any issues and to get comments from people," city planning and building director Lee Brown said.

For now, at least, the truck seems to be popular.

Powers returned that night and stood in line to buy Bahama Mama dinners for everyone. The Lewis Center woman was on her way to her parents' Worthington home, where they had planned to savor the German Village food favorites on the patio.

"I'm really excited," she said of the food-truck find. "It's a good drive to Schmidt's restaurant."

Karen McElmurray of Riverlea agreed. She recently discovered that the Schmidt's truck sometimes stops in Clintonville, but having it in Worthington is even better, she said.

"It would be nice if we had more," she said.

Brown said he was not aware of any more food trucks headed for Worthington. If they do, they will have to get a temporary permit from the Board of Zoning Appeals.

The BZA approved the Schmidt's application during its May meeting.

The manager of the Worthington Dairy Queen spoke in opposition to the truck, or at least to the location directly across from the popular soft-serve spot, which also serves a lot of takeout meals.

The city also received a letter stating the concerns of the management of the nearby Subway, Brown said.

In approving the application, the BZA took into consideration that the Sprint Lube location is zoned for restaurant use, Brown said.

It also set some limitations. Besides a 90-day limit, the truck may be open only from 3 to 8 p.m., and employees must clean up any mess around it.

A request for a temporary sign was rejected.

The sausage truck sells a limited menu from Schmidt's, including Bahama Mamas, bratwurst, knockwurst, Fat Daddy (thick, spicy bologna), hot dogs, sauerkraut, cabbage, German potato salad and, of course, their popular cream puffs.

Bahama Mamas are the top seller thus far, Mark Mullen said as he waited on customers in the parking lot on a recent Tuesday.

He said he was surprised that, even before it was advertised, the truck had a following in Worthington.

"It's a great area," he said. "We were really shocked with the turnout."

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