Some restaurant owners in Hearne don't want outside food trucks to operate during pandemic

HEANRE, Tex. (KBTX) - UPDATE: After seeing the story on KBTX, the owners of Southerns at Post Oak Mall are offering Krab Kingz Seafood Bryan/College Station to use their new kitchen.

Krab Kingz will be there THIS week Thursday - Sunday 2 - 8 p.m. testing it out. They will move into the kitchen full time on June 1.
A local business owner says his food truck is causing controversy in Hearne although he's done everything required to operate there.

Krab Kingz Seafood has had a permit in Hearne since July 2019. Last weekend they brought a new trailer to town.

"I decided 'Hey, why not use it somewhere different, train my crew in Hearne there's no seafood restaurant here', and I thought it would be a good idea," said Oneal Harlee, the owner of Krab Kingz Seafood.

After opening, other local restaurant owners complained about Krab Kingz coming in during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Unbeknownst to me a few restaurant owners in the area are upset about our presence and our food truck," said Harlee.

"Two to three weeks ago we had Chick-fil-A in town. We got phone calls from businesses that they're partially closed, not being able to keep their employees on board. They had concerns about people coming in from the outside and settling food and getting competition. They're struggling like any other business and we pretty well understood," said Hearne Mayor Ruben Gomez.

Dana Altimore owns a business in Hearne. He is also the president of the Chamber of Commerce. Altimore says people in Hearne deserve variety and new businesses.

"That really troubles me because these two trucks that came in have different menus to anything we have in town. Some I guess feel like it will pull business away from them no, people go to Bryan already to eat seafood or Chick Fil A because they don't have anything here, so they don't eat here every day anyway," said Altimore.

Mayor Gomez says the city did ask Krab Kingz to shutdown until other businesses get on track.

"The city welcomes economic development," said Gomez. "But it's bad timing we have to look out for the local businesses."

"I didn't mean to cause any or stir controversy but I do believe there's enough out here for everybody," said Harlee.

The Hearne City Council is expected to review the ordinance on mobile food vendors at Tuesday night's city council meeting.