CHICAGO, IL – In a time when it seems like the entire city and culinary world has gone gaga for food trucks, no matter how good their wares are, it takes a lot to show culinary restraint. The city’s still not allowing actual cooking to go on inside these trucks, but that may change, and The A.V. Club is committed to staying on the cutting edge of the cutting edge. Thus, the street eat beat.
With mobile food still all the rage in Chicago, new trucks and food carts are popping up quicker than locals can swallow those Meatyballs. A few Chicago businesses, organizations, and even restaurants are supporting Chicago’s street food movement by offering up parking lots, public spaces, and hosting events that cater to food truck drivers and their followers.
• Food Truck Tuesday takes place in Lincoln Park in the CB2 parking lot at Halsted and North Avenue every week from 4 to 7 p.m. The meet-up always has a big crowd and turnout, with at least four to six trucks including 5411 Empanadas, Flirty Cupcakes, Gaztro-Wagon, Haute Sausage, The Slide Ride, The Southern Mac, Sweet Miss Giving’s,Sweet Ride, and Tamale Space Charros.
• Also on Tuesday, during lunchtime at Dearborn and Monroe, eaters can sometimes catch an unofficial ‘meat-up’ of minds: Meatyballs, Haute Sausage, 5411 Empanadas, and La Adelita often convene together, parking together and giving plenty of lunchtime options in the Loop.
• Truckin’ In the Park is a weekly meet-up in River North on Tuesdays at Erie and Kingsbury from 6 to 8 p.m. Meatyballs, Taquero Fusion, Sweet Ride, and Mama Green are usually parked and ready to serve.
• Chicago Food Trucks, in partnership with Chicago Party Animals, just launched Waggin’ Wednesdays, taking place every week into the winter at Fulton Market from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Waggin’ Wednesdays will provide a weekly, canine-friendly venue for pet owners to connect and try Chicago’s food truck fare while supporting a good cause. Each week, alcohol sales will be donated to a dog-related charity. Stop by Fido to Go, a Chicago dog food truck that serves healthy food and treats for those furry friends.
• Ethyl’s Beer and Wine dive is the place to be for Food Truck Thursdays every week from 6 to 9 p.m. The former Stanley’s West Loop spot offers up its parking lot for the trucks to park, as well as a full bar and food choices from its own menu. Some of the regulars at Ethyl’s include Tamale Space Charros, Sweet Ride, Taquero Fusion, and Sweet Miss Givings.
• Later this week, Macy’s Culinary Council is rolling its first-ever Macy’s Chefs A-Go-Go Food Truck Tour next week with two dates in Chicago. The red and white Macy’s-branded food truck will visit 10 cities during its nationwide tour, including two dates in Chicago. The first Chicago stop on the Macy’s-branded food truck tour takes place Aug. 14 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Galleria Marchetti and features Chef Takashi Yagihashi. Its second stop features Rick Bayless and takes place on Tuesday, Aug. 16 from 6 to 9 p.m. at 324 S. Racine (the spot where Ethyl’s hosts its Thursday food truck meet-up). Both chefs will be serving up free samples of signature dishes for free, although guests are encouraged to make a small donation to Feeding America.
• Aug. 14 also marks the first StreetFood Artistry event, designed to popularize Chicago-based food trucks and their loyal followers by combining local artists and street-inspired dishes. Besides the food, a live photo shoot, a musical performance by Chicago’s own Soul People, and a silent auction benefiting Chicago Street Musicians, Common Threads, and the University of Chicago Charter School are among the festivities. Tickets start at $30.
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