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July 9, 2018

Westbrook food truck seeks a new home

Don's Lunch, a food truck that's been a fixture on Westbrook streets for 43 years, is hitting the road in search of a new parking spot, after the city revoked its business license.

In response to noise complaints from neighbors, the American Journal in Westbrook reported, Don's owner Craig Bernier had been required to install a fence between his mobile burger joint, parked in the lot of a gas station at 925 Main St., and an adjacent condominium building. When he didn't comply by the June 21 deadline, the city voided his license.

The City Council on May 21 imposed the fence requirement on Don's, as well as a curfew of 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights, and 10 p.m. other nights.

Nancy Litrocapes, one of three condo owners at 917 Main St., told councilors in May that since the business began operating next door in 2015, she and her neighbors have been concerned about the customers who gather at Don's. She described them as noisy and often intoxicated, and said she sometimes found people wandering onto the condo property searching for a place to relieve themselves.

In a letter to Bernier, the city clerk noted that the food truck must remain closed until the council reviews the revocation, which was on the agenda for the council's July 2 meeting. But no action was taken on the item at the meeting.

The next day, Bernier declined to comment about why the fence was not constructed. But he was "extremely upset with the city," he told the American Journal.

In a June 28 post on the Don's Lunch Van Facebook page, he wrote, "Not going to fight with neighbors on an annual basis when it's time to renew business license every year, we will move on and find another place to continue our tradition of 43 years."

Bernier said he was already working with another community to move his business, but wouldn't say where.

Bernier bought Don's Lunch in 2015, after the state had shut down the business for nonpayment of taxes by its previous owner. The original owners, Don and Yvonne Richards, began operating it as Don's Lunch Van in 1976, parked in the lot of The Muffler Shop, at 959 Main St.

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