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Champaign

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Coming in at number nineteen in our Top US Cities to Open a Food Truck is Champaign, IL.

Champaign-Downtown

Since the initial release of our list, we have received a number of emails asking how a small town (population of just over 82,00 in 2012) could break into the top 20…the answer is easy. While Champaign’s population doesn’t come close to being Illinois’ largest city (Chicago), the local government’s acceptance of food trucks takes it leaps and bounds beyond what Chicago can offer a start up food truck business.

City Hall has created a food truck atmosphere that can be considered the most friendly of any city in the country. They have bent over backward to create a pilot program that food trucks can and do succeed in. Their willingness to include food truck owners in the crafting of the pilot program has given truck owners plenty room to operate from including the University campus and downtown areas.

Not only did this small Midwest town make our list but they were rated fifth best place in the United States for a healthy work-life balance. In April 2011, the Christian Science Monitor named Champaign-Urbana one of the five cities leading the economic turnaround based on jobs.

In addition to the University of Illinois, Champaign also features a large technology and software industry that focuses on research and development of new technologies.  So those people that will end up as a new food truck’s customer base is filled with college students and members of the technology industry who tend to frequently track down food trucks.

Find the city’s documentation for Starting a Food Truck <here>

Find the entire list of Top US cities to Open a Food Truck  <here>

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bumpy road

Food truck pilot programs are hitting bumps in the road across the U.S., most recently in the cities of Columbus and Boulder.

Some blame a lack of communication between city officials and stakeholders for causing the programs to stall out; while others say the programs are a good start — but have a long road ahead. Meanwhile, some cities are considering whether to add more regulatory-tape for the mobile kitchens, as brick-and-mortar restaurant owners complain about their upstart competitors.

Columbus Delays Pilot Program
In Columbus, Ohio, the city council has delayed the launch of the food truck pilot program, as food truck owners and city council members continue to discuss rules and regulations for participants.

Brian Reed, the owner of the Mojo TaGo food truck and the president of the Central Ohio Food Truck Association (COFTA), says the pilot originally was set to launch June 1. The program would allow participants to park in 18 metered spaces and an undisclosed number of unmetered spaces in the city.

In addition to possessing the correct licenses and undergoing fire and health inspections, food trucks participating in the Columbus pilot program need to be shorter than 25-feet long to help with line of sight – which many food truck owners say prohibits participation. Reed says 40% of COFTA members own trucks longer than 25 feet.

Rosa Huff, the owner of the Swoop! food truck in Columbus, calls the length restriction “frustrating” and “very restrictive.” Her truck does not qualify for participation in the program. Huff says she feels the recommendations put forward by the COFTA were ignored, but Reed is hopeful ongoing discussions with the city will result in a more inclusive program.

However, only 11 food truck owners showed up two weeks ago for the inspections necessary for participation. Explaining poor attendance, Reed says the city didn’t give food trucks enough notice and didn’t take into consideration their schedule.

“The intentions were good, but timing was an issue … this is our busy time,” says Reed, who notes many food trucks had lucrative catering gigs booked for the Saturday inspection window.

While some estimates by the city place the number of food trucks in Columbus at 150, Reed believes there are only 50 or so mobile food trucks.

“Consumers want us, and that helps us more than anything,” says Tatoheads food truck owner Daniel McCarthy.

Boulder Program Off to a Rocky Start
In Coloroado, communication issues have also affected Boulder’s pilot program, which launched June 1.

The program allows food trucks to set up in specific locations in neighborhood parks. There are also some late-night parking spots for participants in the downtown area, from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night through the end of September.

But on the day of the program’s launch, no food trucks showed up at the park, says John Michael Sethney, the owner of Verde and Cheese Louise, two food trucks operating in Boulder.

Find the entire article by Gabrielle Karol at FOX News Business <here>

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burrito king champaign

Photo by: John Dixon/The News-Gazette

CHAMPAIGN, IL - City officials would extend a pilot food-truck licensing program for another year under a proposal scheduled to be presented to city council members tonight.

Participation has been low, and city officials are not quite ready to make the current rules on food trucks permanent, said Assistant Planning Director Rob Kowalski. Council members are scheduled to discuss the one-year extension at 7 p.m. today in the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.

“The amount of participation has been limited,” Kowalski said. “There’s only three trucks operating right now, so we’re not ready to make permanent code changes.”

Administrators will recommend a few relatively minor changes to the rules. The pilot program is set to expire June 1, and city officials need to approve the extension if they want to keep food trucks operating on Champaign streets.

The city has issued seven permits since the program began last June, though only three businesses have taken advantage of them lately. Burrito King, Cracked and The Empanadas House have been active on Champaign streets.

Find the entire article by Patrick Wade at the News Gazette <here>

 

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Champaign Food Truck Program

CHAMPAIGN, IL - The Champaign City Council will hold a study session May 28 to discuss the future of the city’s Mobile Food Truck Pilot Project, which is set to end June 30.

City staff will likely recommend an extension of the pilot project, with some changes, to the city council at its study session, said Rob Kowalski, assistant planning director for the city of Champaign.

After the pilot project ends, mobile food trucks would not be able to operate on public property without the extension.

“They could operate on private property zoned commercial,” Kowalski said.

The city defines a mobile food truck as a food service operated in a movable vehicle, used to store, prepare, display or serve food intended for individual meals. Push carts, food stands and other methods of selling food without use of a motorized wheeled or towed vehicle are ineligible.

Through the pilot project, the Champaign City Council aims to provide an opportunity for mobile food service in the city while observing vending impacts as the council considers operational regulations for mobile food service.

Food trucks may currently operate in seven permitted locations across the city. Trucks can stay in a location for a maximum of two hours from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m., except for the loading zones on Sixth and Walnut Streets, where vendors are allowed to park in the evening from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. The maximum number of vendors is different at all locations.

The city has issued six permits to mobile food vendors. Mobile food service is currently provided to the city by Cracked, Papa Johns, The Empanadas House and Burrito King, which has two trucks.  A permit has also been issued to Crave, whose truck is not operating this spring.

Permit holders as well as downtown and campus town businesses can provide comments on the pilot project by the end of April for the city council to consider before its May 28 study session.

FInd the entire article by Earn Saenmuk at The Daily Illini <here>

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CHAMPAIGN, IL - This month, two University of Illinois alums rolled a new eatery to campus that serves up gourmet-quality breakfast items to Illini on the go. Founded by Daniel Krause and Jeremy Mandell, who graduated in 2012, Cracked is the newest addition to the growing food truck community in Champaign-Urbana.

cracked food truck

Parked at Mathews Avenue and Stoughton Street in Urbana, the truck’s menu includes breakfast sandwiches, hot dogs, veggie wraps, sides and beverages. Cracked is open Monday through Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. with late night hours from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Monday, Friday and Saturday.

Just two and a half weeks into the business, Krause and Mandell have come to expect the unexpected on a day-to-day basis.

“There’s just so many uncontrollable variables in the business,” said Krause. “One or two things will go wrong whether you like it or not.”

Krause has learned the only way to get past these variables is to deal with them one day at a time.

“Today, our propane was acting up so we couldn’t start our deep fryer, so that slowed down all of the ticket times,” he said.

“Without propane we can’t run the grill, the double burner or the deep fryer, so it just really slows you down until you fix it.”

Find the entire article by Kelly Chuipek at the Daily Illini <here>

 

Cracked Truck

Twitter: @CrackedTruck

Cracked is a new Food Truck providing fresh, gourmet breakfast food to the Champaign-Urbana and Univ. of Illinois community, run by two foodies on a mission!

Champaign-Urbana, IL · http://www.crackedtruck.com

 

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CHAMPAIGN, IL — City officials say they are learning a lot from a fledgling food-truck program, and the city’s newest mobile restaurant says it is enjoying the business.

cracked food truck

Photo by: Darrell Hoemann/The News-Gazette

Three businesses have gotten food-truck permits since the city started making them available for a one-year pilot program that began earlier this summer: the Crave truck was the first to operate on public property in the Champaign side of Campustown and downtown. The Burrito King and Cracked food trucks were not far behind.

“I think people are starting to notice them more,” said Rob Kowalski, Champaign’s assistant planning director.

The city council in June green-lighted the trial program that allows food trucks to operate on public property. The existing city ordinance treats food trucks as peddlers — meaning if they want to operate on public property, they have to move to a different location every five minutes or so.

At the time they approved the program, city officials said the ordinance was not conducive to expanding a food-truck market and adding more options and vibrancy to the downtown and Campustown areas. They will have to decide next year what tweaks they want to make to the program or if they want to permanently allow food trucks.

“It’s going pretty well overall,” Kowalski said. “We’re learning a lot about how they operate and how they want to operate.”

The Cracked truck set up on Church Street just west of Neil Street on Tuesday. That is one of four downtown areas and three Campustown zones where the trucks are allowed to operate.

Business has been good, said co-owner Jeremy Mandell. Every time the crew was ready to close and head off from the spot, a new wave of customers would show up.

And Mandell said he has very few complaints about the rules of the pilot program itself.

“I think the only thing I would change is the two-hour limit,” he said. The rules of the permit require that food trucks not stay in the same place for more than that amount of time.

Mandell said he realizes brick-and-mortar establishments would not necessarily want a food truck just steps from their entrances for much longer than that.

“We want to comply and help everyone out,” Mandell said. “We’re not trying to step on anyone’s toes.”

Kowalski said the city has heard “concern” from one restaurant, “now that the trucks are getting noticed more and getting more business.”

Find the entire article by Patrick Wade at news-gazette.com <here>

 

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This week’s 5 on Friday we spoke with the 18 year old owner of the Champaign, IL based food truck, The Crave Truck.

Zach_Ware

Image from NFIB Entrepreneurship Video Contest 2012

Name: Zach Ware

Age: 18

Food truck name: The Crave Truck

Location: Champaign-Urbana (central Illinois)

Year started in the mobile food industry: Build-out 2010. Launched- 2011

Mobile Cuisine: Why did you become a food truck owner, chef?

Zach Ware: My dad gave me his 1967 Camero convertible when I was 15. It has been sitting in his garage since the day I was born waiting to be restored. When I got my driver’s license, I purchased a ten-year old 944 Porche with my savings. My step-dad spent many nights working under the hood with me so I could have a cool ride. This was expensive and I needed a job to fix-up these two cool cars, but I was competing with forty year-olds for positions that used to be held by high-schoolers. Naturally, I crossed paths with others online who were tricking-out their food trucks while I sourced parts for my cars. My mom called it “Food Truck Envy.” Then the idea hit me: I could sell both of my cars and build a food truck that would generate income to buy a better car. Or something like that.

MC: Who has been the most influential person in your culinary career?

ZW: I grew-up in a foodie family: We watch TV shows like Top Chef, Hells Kitchen, and Chopped with the same fan-fare that most families reserve for football. At 12, I was drafted into working in our family’s bakery/cafe. Beyond a doubt, my parents have influenced and supported my culinary career the most.

MC: What do you think sets your truck apart from your competitors?

ZW: From day one, we focused on brand: Ours is hip, engaged, unique, and focused on quality and service.

MC: What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself and your food truck in 2 and 5 years?

ZW: In two years, I hope to roll-out another truck or two under the same brand, but different menu concepts. I also want to help develop this industry, I would love to do consulting, public speaking, or even better understand food truck legislation. Within five years, I hope to be able to launch a brick and mortar restaurant capitalizing on the brand I have created. I have had a couple of franchise inquiries on the food truck concept, but I haven’t figured out how to control the brand I’ve created enough to trust someone else with being true to it. And oh, I start my freshman year in college this fall, so there are no easy paths for me.

MC: What one suggestion would you give to someone planning to open a food new truck?

ZW: Meet with your health department during the idea stage and implement their suggestions. Develop your social network as soon as possible by being authentic, transparent, and reciprocal. Start searching for the best staff and include them in the concept as planning turns to doing.

Crave Truck

Twitter: @thecravetruck

Food Truck making authentic Belgian Street Waffles on the spot for the local Illini & Cent IL places http://www.facebook.com/CraveTruck

Champaign, IL · http://cravetruck.com

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In our quest to keep our readers up to date with the latest stories relating to the food truck industry has compiled a list of the stories that hit the wire this weekend from Champaign, Milwaukee, Toronto, Westlake, San Bernardino County and Springfield.

OTW Logo

June 1

Champaign starts pilot project for food trucks – CHAMPAIGN, IL - The latest trend in mobile cuisine — food trucks — is now allowed in Champaign.

“It’s a fantastically popular part of the cultural and culinary landscape,” Mayor Don Gerard said.

Find the entire article <here>

Food trucks offer moveable local feasts – MILWAUKEE, WI - The food truck trend hit Milwaukee a number of years ago and has expanded with a vengeance.

Seemingly overnight, a widely varied fleet of sleek mobile eateries rolled in, offering a host of sweets and savories to consumers on the go. These days, the trend is still going strong and – among the bounty of choices – serious locavores now have at least two options from which they can procure local eats.

Find the entire article <here>

June 2

Toronto food trucks dogged by street food red tape – TORONTO, CANADA - Ouzo-fried calamari to start, a fresh-made lobster roll, maybe a maple-bacon doughnut for dessert — not bad for a lunch served up in a downtown Toronto parking lot.

“We’re going for the trifecta of food,” said Neil Daga, holding a crispy Reuben spring roll in one hand, motioning to the trio of food trucks parked near Queen St. E and Jarvis St. with the other.

For Torontonians who’ve hopped on the food-truck wagon, this downtown intersection has, for now, become a rare reliable spot to find lunch from a four-wheeled kitchen.

Find the entire article <here>

Food Trucks Return to Hyland Software – WESTLAKE, OH - While health insurance and a 401K are nice workplace benefits, Hyland Software goes a little farther when it comes to perks.

It brings in the food trucks.

Find the entire article <here>

June 3

San Bernardino County supervisors to take up food truck proposal – SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, CA - A proposed ordinance that would expand food truck operations in San Bernardino County goes before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

The county Planning Commission approved the ordinance in April. County staff began researching and preparing the draft ordinance last year at the direction of the Board of Supervisors.

Find the entire article <here>

Food trucks popping up around Springfield – SPRINGFIELD, OH — Taco trucks are one of the newest food trends to hit Springfield, even though the number of mobile food permits is remaining steady in the county.

Since Dec. 1, the Clark County Combined Health District has issued 51 permits for mobile food service operations and four for mobile retail food establishments.

Find the entire article <here>

 

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In our quest to keep our readers up to date with the latest stories relating to the food truck industry has compiled a list of the stories that hit the wire this weekend from San Antonio, Seattle, Madison, Champaign, Columbus and North Logan.

OTW Logo

May 18

Food truck program off to rough start – SAN ANTONIO, TX - It’s starting to become abundantly clear why there remains to be zero interest among food truck operators in Maverick Park, one of the city’s proposed locations for its pilot program. It’s surrounded by nothing. People would have to drive to get there. And while HemisFair Park’s surroundings aren’t as barren as Maverick’s, the trucks have left there for similar reasons.

Find the entire article <here>

Today food trucks, tomorrow the world? Mobile wallet app LevelUp targets Seattle geeks – Seattle, WA - If you’ve gotten a free lunch at a South Lake Union food truck lately, it’s probably thanks to Boston-based mobile wallet app LevelUp.

“I probably see those guys out there at least once a week,” said Mark Worster, founder of food truck locator and resource hub SeattleFoodTruck.com. “They’re good to talk to.”

Find entire article <here>

May 19

Food trucks expand beyond basic items – MADISON, WI - With the sunshine of spring comes a huge craving to fire up the grill and plop on the brats. Such simple, brown-and-sizzle pleasures turn extraordinary about 1,000 miles south.

For breakfast: hot skewers of sausage doused with pancake/waffle batter, sprinkled with brown sugar and kissed with a syrup whose artisan flavors change with the season.

Find the entire article <here>

City to take another look at food trucks – CHAMPAIGN, IL - The city of Champaign plans to revisit the issue of how it lets food-truck vendors operate.

Currently, certain food-truck vendors are registered as peddlers and aren’t allowed to stay in one location very long, unless they’re on private property.

Find the entire article <here>

May 20

Food trucks inspire glut of possibilities – COLUMBUS, OH - I didn’t see the food-truck trend coming.

Americans standing in line in a parking lot to buy ribs? I’d have sworn that the idea wouldn’t work.

We don’t like to get out of our cars. If we could get divorced in a drive-through, we’d do it. (I’d call that business Jiffy Split, by the way.)

But Columbus is crawling with food trucks. Fleets of them fan out across the city every day. Franklinton even has a food-truck food court, with an indoor dining room and rotating vendors.

Find the entire article <here>

Local vendors say popularity of food trucks on the rise – NORTH LOGAN, ID - Walking around a bus yard in Boise, Idaho, Ramiro Martinez saw a variety of buses from different areas, and used for different reason. But was interested in purchasing a bus for one good reason only: To fill people’s tummies.

For $7,000, the bus was his and Martinez quickly went to work. He unbolted all of the seats and installed kitchen equipment; he gave the bus a crisp white paint job, with the words Taqueria “La Villa” in red lettering; and he installed benches stapled with a bright red cushioning and metal “counter tops” lining either side of its interior so people could eat in an air-conditioned environment.

Find the entire article <here>

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You may have missed it, but the mobile food industry is growing faster than anyone would have guessed two years ago. It can be difficult to keep up with the new trucks and carts as they pop up throughout the country. Because of this, Mobile Cuisine Magazine assists our readers weekly by posting the names and information about these trucks, so if they happen to be in your area, you can begin to follow them, or at least keep any eye out for them on the roads and cart pods.

Twister Truck

This week’s new entries are:

Champaign, IL

Cracked Truck

Twitter: @CrackedTruck

Cracked is a new, fresh, gourmet breakfast Food Truck out of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Owned and Operated by two extremely recent College Grads from U of I…

http://www.crackedtruck.com

Charlotte, NC

Sticks and Cones

Twitter: @SticksAndCones

Two ice cream trucks for double the fun! Schedule Sticks for novelty ice cream or Cones for soft-serve deliciousness. Available for events! Call!

http://www.SticksAndConesIceCream.com

Cincinnati, OH

SugarSnap!

Twitter: @SugarsnapTruck

The sweetest food truck in Cincy….bringing delicious sweets and artisanal coffee to the streets!

http://www.sugarsnaptruck.com

Florence, KY

Perkn Up Coffee

Twitter: @PerknUpCoffee

http://www.letseat.at/perknupcoffee

Glendale, AZ

White Eyes Fry Bread

Twitter: @WeFryBread

We are the only frozen fry bread company in the US! Find us at local events and in your grocer’s freezer very soon!

http://www.wefrybread.com

Los Angeles, CA

Cousins Lobsters

Twitter: @cousinslobsters

Cousins Maine Lobster brings the tradition and quality of Maine’s iconic lobster industry to Southern California. #cousinslobsters

http://cousinsmainelobster.com

Miami, FL

HipPOPs

Twitter: @HipPOPsTruck

HipPOPs is a gourmet mobile dessert truck serving handcrafted gelato bars to the South Florida community. Follow us and find out where we’re headed next!

http://www.HipPOPs.com

Montgomery County, MD

The Slider Barron

Twitter: @SBarronThe

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Slider-Barron/290147454346286

Moristown, TN

Crazy Good Burgers

Twitter: @crazygoodburger

http://crazygoodburgers.com

New York City, NY

Chinese Mirch

Twitter: @ChineseMirch

The best Indian Chinese in the US!

http://www.chinesemirch.com

Morocho

Twitter: @NYCmorocho

http://www.facebook.com/MorochoNYC

The Squeeze

Twitter: @TheSqueezeTruck

http://thesqueezejuice.com/

Oakland, CA

Twister Truck

Twitter: @twistertruck

Twister presents a fresh, new twist to Mexican food – Literally!

http://twistertruck.com

Oviedo, FL

TJs Seafood Shack

Twitter: @tjsseafood

 

If you are aware of any new rolling bistros, please let us know so that we can add them to our weekly listing of new food trucks as they hit the streets near you. Email us at MFV@mobile-cuisine.com

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