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Added Apr 24 2012

A recent article reported: "If you’ve been seeing less of your favorite Chicago food trucks this spring, that’s because police have been cracking down and running them off their usual locations, food truck operators say. "Some vendors say Chicago police have gone so far as to track their planned whereabouts via social media — trucks often announce their locations for the day on Facebook and Twitter — and intercept them before they open." What do you think?

  • Joe Lake, Chicagoland Joe Lake, Chicagoland

    Ald. Tom Tunney (44th Ward) is opposed to hot food in Food Trucks in Chicago. An ordinance has been pending to allow hot food in Food Trucks for a couple years in City Council. Food trucks without hot food are permitted in Chicago.
    Food trucks serving hot food are permitted in most large cities in the United States.
    Outlawed is a pretty strong word to use when Food Trucks are allowed in Chicago, now.

  • Naprapath Works at Lakeshore Integrative HealthCare

    I think they should follow whatever ordinance is in place. If the police are "following them around" then I assume these trucks are "sneaking around" trying to avoid them and that the police are simply using new technology (Facebook) to catch those who are in violation. If they are not in violation, then why would the police be following them around ... unless they are hungry?

  • Joe Lake, Chicagoland Joe Lake, Chicagoland

    My money is on the police are hungry

  • Chicago should allow food trucks, with reasonable geographic restrictions to give protection to local restaurant owners and reasonable sanitary restrictions to give protection to our collective stomachs. The food is good, quick and fun! That's why the trend is taking off in nearly every major city in the country. We should not allow the economic self-interest of restaurant owners and landlords to deprive all the citizens of Chicago of their inalienable right to eat hot food from a truck.

  • Joe Lake, Chicagoland Joe Lake, Chicagoland

    Exactly. And I'm hungry.

  • justbabs chgo lifer - now in pp

    It's too bad that we are becoming so provincial. I realize we'll never be Seattle or Portland but what happened to our spirit of adventure and entrepreneurship? We're missing out on an entire style of food presentation because some competitors feel threatened? Bayless is fine with it and would have his own truck.

    By the way, the police follow them to harrass them and prevent them from finding a parking spot. Violations includes parking in a loading zone or not paying a meter.

  • JOHN156 Entrepreneur, Trying to score the big hit.

    Once again it's all politics in Chicago. My guess is the restaurants (or the restaurant association) are pressuring the city to limit food trucks.....and your know who has more clout. Another Second City move to keep us Second City.

  • Patrick Lincoln Square

    I would eat at food trucks if I ever saw one when I'm out for lunch. I've only ever spotted one in Lincoln Square selling pasteries. The proposed restrictions to food trucks sound terrible. Hopefully they don't all pass (required to have a brick & mortar store, outrageous annual fees to make up for the trucks not having to pay property taxes...). The great thing about food trucks is it allows new chefs a great way to get into the game without having to spend all that money to open a restaurant. I think they're a good thing, not something we should restrict and fee into oblivion.

  • Naprapath Works at Lakeshore Integrative HealthCare

    Let's not lose sight. The article didn't specify if those trucks being harassed trucks were licensed to sell their products or not, nor did it cite what the exact city ordinance is - except that they cannot be within 200 feet of a restaurant ... which makes sense as why take business away from restauranteurs who went through the massive hassle to sign a lease with ridiculous long-term rents, hire costly employees, and pay for loading zones just to have a food truck move into that space and prevent deliveries and swipe customers to that restaurant which already paid its heavy taxes and dues!

    In addition, it MIGHT just be that a few of these mobile food trucks which do not have a license to sell hot food might not be selling food which was prepared properly. This is a part of the licensing process, to try to ensure food safety ... along with making money for the economically challenged city of course.

    If someone doesn't want to go through the legal process, then let them sell elsewhere. I know too many people who complain of food-born illness in normal restaurants - I think it's much more likely in the trucks unless they are monitored closely. If you think the city is too restrictive for these "roach coaches", try opening up any legit business in the city. It's tough everywhere.

  • JOHN156 Entrepreneur, Trying to score the big hit.

    Many of the food truck that are being harassed are licensed. They have followed the rules. This is not about food safety or correct licensing, it's about limiting restaurant competition through the use of clout.

  • Inactive user

    Simple. Follow the money. Restaurant Association?..National Restaurant Show at (ta-da) McCormick Place.
    And who's the keynote speaker? Bill "define IS"' Clinton.
    It'll be a long time before Mayor Twinkletoes/Transparent Govt. allows the Bricks & Mortar restaurants to taste some real competition.
    I say bring on the trucks and the entrepreneurial spirit...Bravo!

  • Joe Lake, Chicagoland Joe Lake, Chicagoland

    Mayor Emanuel supported Food Trucks with hot food during his mayoral campaign.

  • I've had some good food out of food trucks, but I don't have a problem with the city taking the side of the property tax-paying restaurants that are losing business to the truck owners. These restaurants have made an investment in our city. Want to ensure that they restaurants will stop investing in the city? Let somebody park a food truck right outside of it.

  • justbabs chgo lifer - now in pp

    Naprapath,currently there are NO licenses available to make food on a truck. We're not talking about roach coaches - food trucks are a whole new phenomenon. In other cities, these trucks are huge businesses and are treated like the start-ups that they are. These trucks can cost over $100,000 - not like a brick and mortar but not cheap. The Portage Park area hosts a food truck night every other month and all the trucks sell out - twice. Two different groups of trucks are invited at two different times. Call Ald. Arena for more info.

  • No ordinance allowing ... then no food trucks. Lobby to get it passed.

  • justbabs chgo lifer - now in pp

    Food trucks are only allowed to sell what has already been made. Nothing fresh?!? That makes so much sense.

  • dw

    Chicago is such a f'ed up city in so many ways. Most of it relates back to revenue. Most of te revenue lines politician's and their friend's pockets. TIme to move.

  • Bring on the food trucks Chicago!
    But severe fines for uncleanliness!

  • Steve J -A Chicago original since 1968-

    We are a world-class city that should have hundreds of full-on food truck cooking away in the streets- AND whatever happened to competition? What are restaurants afraid of?

    Let the free market decide!

  • Freedom of choice, you can choose whether or not to eat from them. I personally love them. I agree with @Private Fam, severe fines for health code violations.

  • dw

    Don't get me wrong. I love Chicago in more ways than I find it questionable. However, as it pertains to food trucks, traffic speed cameras, parking meters, sale of bridges, contraced services, etc...we've made a fool of ourselves nationally and even internationally. Daleys started it and it seems nothing has changed with Rahm (e.g. giving a contract to a cronie without a bidding process). The potential banning of food trucks are yet another issue that boils down to self-interested politicians doing something that is NOT in the best interest of those they represent.

  • I would like to know if they are as sanitary as a restaurant and how they are licensed and inspected.

  • BShally City gal

    I've worked in the food and bev industry all over Chicago. Sanitary and restaurant, whether sit-down or from a truck, do not go in the same sentence. But honestly, I feel like it collectively keeps our immune systems in check so I'm for it. Plus, they're just so dang delicious!

  • It's about choice. Americans love choice.

    Except in Chicago where we all fear whatever our elected officials tell us to fear.

    They don't like choice in Chicago because of the IL restaurant group which is made up of old school clouted people. Mayor Daleys chief of staff was the director and now a Toia from Leonas is the director for rahm Emanuel. There is nothng wrong with well regulated food trucks like they are in LA and NYC.

  • I like the entrepreneurial spirit of the food truck vendors. So far, I haven't seen any in the area but there are many trucks around NMH and NU in Streeterville and they do a great business. My only concern is that they keep the food within the prescribed temperature range.

  • Benjamin Lipsman 37 y.o. Logan Square resident. Web designer.

    The food trucks are local businesses and provide more interesting choices for meals than the giant corporate chains that have filled every possible location. I work near Ogilvie and there are few mom & pop or local ethnic restaurants to choose from, but I can walk to about 5-6 each of McDonalds, Subway, Jimmy John's, Corner Bakery and Potbelly within 5 minutes.

    As for food safety, New York, Los Angeles, Portland, et al have food trucks and we don't hear about scores of New Yorkers or Angelenos dropping dead from food truck poisoning. If those cities can manage inspections, why can't we do the same? Hell, just copy their laws/procedures verbatim.

  • @LincolnParkTV LincolnPark Neighborhood Hyper-Local TV

    Given the real interest here in foods trucks in Chicago, we would like this conversation to go viral within EveryBlock and on Twitter. Any suggestions? Our Twitter is @atlincolnpark . Many thanks to all those who have commented.

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