An Unsatisfying Compromise in Chicago's Food Truck Wars

Will a new Chicago ordinance put the kibosh on mobile cupcakes and kabobs?

A contentious food truck ordinance moved a step closer to almost-certain passage this week when a city council subcommittee approved it after a long and packed public hearing. The ordinance is intended to resolve a turf war between brick-and-mortar restaurants and their mobile, non-property-tax-paying competitors.

In an olive branch to the truck owners, the compromise ordinance allows vendors to cook in their trucks and extends their hours of operation, which had previously been restricted to the hours of 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The truck owners were not mollified. The vendors complain that location restrictions -- no setting up shop on vacant lots, even with the owner's permission, and no parking within 200 feet of a brick-and-mortar restaurant -- will cut them off from the lunchtime crowds that are their bread and butter. Brick-and-mortar restaurant owners say their higher fixed costs and the contribution they make to the overall Chicago experience render them worthy of protection.

The ordinance is expected to be approved when it hits the full city council next week.

Thanks to Rachel Proctor May

Full Story: Chicago Food Truck Ordinance Approved by City Council Committee

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