Chicago’s Food Truck Ordinance

The food truck ordinance was approved yesterday.

If you’re looking to make a case for Chicago food trucks, look no further than the Tamale Spaceship. Dudes in luchadore masks and sombreros, handing over “space guacamole” curbside? There’s nothing more to discuss.

And then there are the cupcake trucks. Flirty Cupcakes, MORE, Cupcakes for Courage –I’ve given my money to all of them. In the immortal words of Dan Sinker’s @mayoremanuel, “Speech preview: ‘Because somehow this town has confused driving fucking cupcakes around with goddamn innovation.’” Food trucks aren’t innovation, per se, but I love having easy access to a red velvet after a full day of work.

The opposition to food trucks comes from brick and mortar restaurants, who feel as though their livelihood is threatened by the luchadores and cute girls selling cupcakes. The ordinance requires that trucks stay 200 feet from restaurants, “except in certain locations.” I have to assume that those certain locations include most of downtown, and especially the Loop. They would have to, right?

Food trucks and restaurants are similar in that they both provide a basic thing that people always want and need: food. The ways in which they’re used are much different. When I go to a food truck, it’s almost always on a whim. Perhaps I’ll notice a tweet from a truck, heralding a nearby arrival. Maybe a co-worker will mention that a group of us should visit a cupcake truck on a coffee break. In almost all of those situations, I haven’t chosen to get food from a truck over going to a restaurant; the two exist as distinctly different providers in my head.

That said, I fully support the food trucks; they’re the podcasters to brick-and-mortar dining’s traditional radio.

Further reading: Sun-Times 

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