Support Chicago Food Truck Day tomorrow, July 12
On July 19 at 11am, in Room 201A of City Hall, there will be a public hearing to discuss the new food truck ordinance. It's a heady doc, but here's the thrust: It will allow cooking on trucks, it will allow trucks to operate 24 hours and it will purportedly allow for designated "food stands" throughout the city, which can accommodate two trucks each for up to two hours. Though the ordinance has been portrayed as a compromise, food truck owners are very concerned about many aspects of it, most notably the following: It prohibits trucks from parking within 200 feet of a restaurant and sets fines at $1,000-$2000 for violations of that guideline—a rate that some operators say is unreasonable. Some operators are also concerned that the city is encouraging more trucks without making accommodations for the growth of the sector and would like to see more and larger food-truck "islands" in high-density areas. (This is not to mention the ordinance's 1984-esque proposition that food trucks be monitored 24/7 by GPS systems, but that's for another day.)
In preparation for the hearing, the city's food trucks are banding together for Chicago Food Truck Day, which takes place tomorrow, Thursday, July 12, around Chicago. Beginning at 11am, local food trucks will offer free items to their first 19 customers (July 19 is the hearing date, get it?) and will also circulate a petition (which you can also sign online here) for changes to the ordinance that support food trucks. (Follow our Twitter list to locate the trucks.) In addition, tomorrow night, from 6–8pm, a group of food trucks will gather outside Fishman Liquors (4780 N Milwaukee Ave), to serve food, gather support and encourage food-truck fans to contact City Council to share that support. Their message, as summarized on the Chicago Schnitzel King blog: "Don't treat food trucks like second-class citizens. Cut the 200-foot rule, and let customers have a choice. Let freedom roll!"