CHICAGO, IL – Every weekday, close to a dozen food trucks line up at Wacker Drive and Adams Street in downtown Chicago to serve lunch. But Oct. 5, city officials ticketed trucks and told them to leave. The food-truck bust serves as a chilling reminder to Chicago’s culinary entrepreneurs: No matter how popular or productive your business, the city can shut it down on a whim.
Bruges Brothers, a popular local vendor that sells Belgian-style frites, was one of the trucks the city ticketed. The citation, which came with a $25 fine, said the food truck had violated a city parking ordinance that prohibits trucks, buses or other commercial vehicles from parking on any business street in the city.
But that doesn’t add up. Chicago’s Municipal Code allows mobile-food vehicles to vend at a location for the lesser of two hours or the maximum time allowed for parking at that spot. If city officials ignore the sections of the code that allow food trucks to operate and ban these vendors from business streets, some of the city’s most popular meal options are likely to vanish.
Charles Belt, who does social media outreach and works daily on the Bruges Brothers food truck, said the ticket his truck received yesterday set an unsettling precedent.
“What the ticket was saying was that none of the food trucks were allowed to operate anywhere in the Loop, if you take into account that ticket on top of the 200-foot rule and the two-hour rule,” Belt said.
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