Chicago City Council Approves New Food Truck Ordinance

Taquero Fusion

Chicago's city council voted 44-1 Wednesday to approve new food truck legislation that includes longer hours of operation and the long-sought ability to cook on-site.

Aldermen spoke in favor of the new ordinance that allows city food trucks to operate from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. instead of the current 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and prepare food in onboard kitchens instead of off-site spaces.

"I'm looking forward to these trucks," Ald. Willie Cochran (20th). "Bring them on."

"I am energized by the support," Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) said.

The vote doesn't come without some frustration, though. 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.

Restaurant owners say the new legislation gives food trucks too much freedom that could hurt struggling brick-and-mortar businesses.

The owners of food truck Duck N Roll say consumers should have the choice whether to buy food from a restaurant or truck.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said the new ordinance eliminates unnecessary restrictions holding back food trucks.

“Chicago’s small businesses are the backbones of our communities and are a vital part of what make our city a thriving place to live, work and visit,” said Mayor Emanuel in a statement. “My administration is committed to common-sense changes that will allow this industry to thrive, creating jobs and supporting a vibrant food culture across the city.”

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