Drive-by foodies are growing in Chicago.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Friday that since the city's revamped food truck ordinance passed last week, 34 new traveling stands have started the application process.
“This surge in initial interest is proof positive that our strategy is working – we have created a workable ordinance that is allowing the food truck industry to grow in Chicago,” said Emanuel in a statement.
In the past week, 27 new vendors applied for a mobile food preparer license to allow cooking on the vehicle. Seven applied for the mobile food dispensers license, allowing vendors to make final preparations to pre-cooked or pre-packaged foods on-board.
No existing trucks have made moves to upgrade their license to cook on their trucks, but the city expects many will ultimately do so.
Emanuel supported the new ordinance that lifted restrictions on operators selling food between 10:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. But the new rules don’t come without some frustration.
The ordinance includes a strict rule requiring operators to stay 200 feet away from restaurants and a $2,000 fine for offenders that truck owners say makes it difficult for them to do business in populated areas. Another stipulation requires trucks to carry GPS devices to track their movements.
Other areas are also facing frustrations with food truck ordinances.
A lawsuit by Chicago doughnut truck Beavers Donuts was filed last week in Evanston after their town law prohibits non-restaurant owners from food truck vending.
Chicago’s re-evaluation of the food truck industry spurred aldermen to approve the new ordinance with intentions of kick-starting the industry’s growth in the city, which currently has 127 licensed mobile food dispensers.
“We are delighted to see new interest in joining the food truck industry and are looking forward to working with our existing mobile food dispensers to expand their economic opportunity and advance Chicago as a culinary destination,” said Rosemary Krimbel, commissioner of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, in a statement.