By Lisa Arnett and Amanda Boleman
July 25, 2012
On Wednesday, the City Council passed a Chicago ordinance that would allow cooks to prepare fresh meals from food trucks, but also restrict the areas in which they're allowed to park and serve. The ordinance was passed with a 45-1 vote, with Ald. John Arena, 45th, the sole "no" vote, and prohibits trucks from parking within 200 feet of a restaurant.
Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) and Ald. Proco "Joe" Moreno (1st) introduced the expanded ordinance earlier this summer.
In the wake of the change to allow Chicago food trucks to cook on-board, RedEye looked back at notable trucks that are still rolling and others that have turned in their keys waiting for changes.
NO LONGER TRUCKIN'
Homage Street Food
Back in May, this street food-peddling truck halted operations due to lack of progress on food truck law changes and co-owner Mike Maloney doesn’t have plans to get back on the road.
Sweet Miss Giving’s Food Truck
This cupcake and cookie truck operated by the social enterprise bakery retired its truck and its retail location at the Chicago French Market in April as a result of a licensing agreement with a national wholesale baker.
Mama Green’s Goodies
This cookie truck made an exit from the food truck scene and sold its vehicle in March.
The Sugar Whip
This treats truck operated by Uptown bakery The Cupcake Gallery shut down when the bakery closed its storefront location last November.
This truck stopped selling Chicago-style hot dogs and Polish sausage were this truck’s specialty; it stopped operations earlier this year and doesn’t have plans to return..
Sweet Spot Macarons
This truck selling French macarons was shuttered last winter.
>>Though on-board cooking restrictions didn’t affect the preparation of her French macarons, owner Galit Greenfield took her truck off the road this past winter and doesn’t have plans to return. “It wasn’t the best experience for me,” she said. “I don’t think I’ll ever do a food truck in Chicago again.”
Chef Matt Maroni and his naan-wiches were one of the first on the food truck scene, but he closed the supplying storefront of the same name and sold the truck back in January, and it hasn’t been active since April. He still plans to consult on the truck when the returns to the streets.
>>Maroni had one thing to say about the movement on food truck legislature, which he has been working with Alderman Scott Waguespack for more than two years: “It’s about damn time,” he said. “I started the thing and I wanted to see it through. … I know that not everyone is going to be happy with what comes out of it, but the point is that we can actually cook on food trucks in Chicago … and that’s what we were striving for the whole time.”
The Meatyballs Mobile
Phillip Foss and his meatball sandwiches were also part of the local food truck scene’s pioneers, but he has suspended operations to focus on the fine-dining restaurant, El, that he runs out of the prep kitchen originally intended to supply Meatyballs.
The food truck satellite of this Wicker Park taco bar has been making appearances at a handful of private events each month, waiting out law changes.
>>Chef Justin Large said that he still has concerns about the new ordinance. “I’m not super-excited about the prospect of a GPS tracking system,” he said. “[It] feels like a lot of guilty-until-proven-innocent kind of stuff, to where they can kind of ticket us without having to be there … and just kind of assumes that we’re all out there to break the law and bend the law in order to achieve our ends, which I don’t agree with.”
Because this truck already has equipment on board to fry doughnuts to order, it stays law-abiding by operating on private property with a catering license when within city limits and also roams suburban streets, where it’s licensed to cook on-board.
>>Co-owner Jim Nuccio said he’s hoping to be the first mobile food truck licensed under the pending ordinance.
Charlie McKenna’s barbecue truck has been making occasional appearances at private events while waiting out law changes.
CURRENTLY ON THE ROAD
Bergstein’s NY Deli
Serving: Sandwiches, soup and salads
Serving: Gourmet sausages
Serving: Baked empanadas
Serving: Pasties, aka hand-held pies
Brown Bag Lunch Truck
Buns on the Run by Wow Bao
Serving: Steamed buns
Cupcakes for Courage
Serving: Cupcakes benefiting cancer research
Duck ‘n’ Roll
Serving: Banh mi sandwiches
Eleaven Food Co.
Serving: Sandwiches, soup and piewiches
Serving: Healthy fast food
Fido to Go
Serving: Gourmet dog treats
Serving: French bread meatball sandwiches
The More Mobile
Serving: Schnitzel sandwiches
Serving: Frozen kefir
Sweet Ride Mobile Bakery
Serving: Whoopie pies and cupcakes
Tamalli Space Charros
Serving: Soft tacos
The Slide Ride
The Southern Mac Truck
Serving: Mac 'n' cheese
@TrafficJamFood & @JAMrestaurant
Serving: Sandwiches and coffee
Vegan Food Truck
@SteMartaen & @VeganPedicab
Serving: Vegan sandwiches and other snacks
Serving: Burgers and sandwiches
>>Chef Aaron Crumbaugh’s truck is equipped to cook on-board even when laws didn't permit it; he calls his operation an “underground truck,” though most of his business is for private events. “[The city] obviously know that I cook, but I’ve never gotten a ticket, which is cool,” he said. He said that some organization on the part of food truck operators could be helpful when it comes to the specific “food stall” areas to be designated by the city. “Getting together with other food trucks to do our own separate lottery so 10 people aren’t driving up for the same spot … as far as owners go, we need to all get together and figure that out,” he said. “Every truck could get their fair share of a spot.”
>>Editor's note: This is not a comprehensive list of Chicago food trucks, but we'd like it to be. RedEye readers and food truck owners, contact Eat & Drink editor Lisa Arnett to be considered for inclusion in our next update of this list. email@example.com | @redeyeeats
Tribune contributed. Additional reporting by RedEye reporter Leonor Vivanco.
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