Peoria City Council Disapproves Food Trucks

PEORIA, IL – Short sighted politicians have struck again. This time in Peoria, IL. Last night with a 6-5 vote, the cities City Council disapproved an ordinance which would have allowed food trucks to begin operate in within the city limits.

The ordinance, which if approved, would have charged truck operators $3,400 to serve food at approved locations within the Warehouse District, in front of the Peoria Civic Center and along Hamilton Boulevard next to the Peoria County Courthouse. The fee was $1,000 less for truck operators who already own a restaurant.

Outside the Downtown area, the ordinance restricted food trucks from being within 200 feet of existing restaurants. It also established a 500-foot restriction on food trucks from schools, carnivals, festivals and other special events.

While the fees and parking restrictions were way out of balance compared to most municipalities around the country, if it had been approved, it would have allowed mobile food vendors to begin operating.

Those who voted against the ordinance seem to be missing the point of the mobile food industry and this point appears to be proven by a comment made by the Mayor himself. According to Mayor Jim Ardis, “The existing brick and mortar business people have to pay for air conditioning when its 100 degrees out and pay for heat when it’s 10 below. The mobile vendor keeps his truck in the garage.”

Had the mayor really took the time to investigate the issue, he would have realized that when a food truck is parked inside a garage due to inclement weather, the food truck isn’t doing business. But why would that matter? The mayor is too concerned with protecting one business model (brick and mortar restaurants) from another (food trucks). The last time I checked, that wasn’t the role of local government.

If you would like to share your thoughts with the city representatives who voted down this ordinance, you can find their contact information below:


Jim Ardis:

Council Members

Bill Spears:

Dan Irving:

Clyde Gulley:

Eric Turner:

2017-03-31T08:43:12+00:00 By |Politics|

About the Author:

Richard is an architect by degree (Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Michigan) who began his career in real estate development and architectural planning. In September of 2010 he created Mobile Cuisine Magazine to fill an information void he found when he began researching how to start a mobile hotdog cart in Chicago. Richard found that there was no central repository of mobile street food information anywhere on the internet, and with that, the idea for MCM was born.


  1. Zach Ware Jun 13, 2012 at 10:31 am

    In any city, small or large, you can find businesses that run out of a truck: There are tool companies like Matco Tools and SnapOn, power washers, window washers, cleaning services, delivery, professional knife sharpening businesses for restaurants and the public, dog washers, and others that like a Food Truck have another location where the truck is parked where they pay real estate taxes, utilities, refuse disposal and other expenses. Food vendors have been in this country since the beginning development of urban areas.

    Food trucks are not a new concept, but they have evolved to produce specialty foods that fill a niche that other food establishments don’t meet. Gourmet and specialty ethnic items can be found around the United States by mobile food vendors offering both a unique product and a convenience not met by existing brick and mortar restaurants.

    In our central Illinois town of Champaign, Mas Amigos has not only an authentic Mexican street food truck, but also a mobile mini-store truck that serves less mobile consumers such as those living in trailer parks around town.

    The Crave Truck offers made-from-scratch Belgian Liege waffles. No other brick and mortar restaurant in our community offers our specialty item.

    Tuesday June 26th our Champaign City Council will hold a special Study Session to discuss reforming the city’s out-dated peddler ordinances. We invite EVERYONE who supports the Mobile Food Industry to join us.

    No doubt Mayor Jim Ardis of Peoria understands that “garages” where food trucks are stored undoubtedly have real estate taxes levied upon them just like any other building.

    Just like any other building, there are ALWAYS utility costs like the electrical power that switches from the gas fueled generator of a food truck to a power cord connected to the building. This electrical power keeps the food truck’s refrigeration running and COLD so that the truck is in compliance with Illinois State Sanitation codes just like a brick and mortar restaurant. The electricity also keeps the truck warm in colder months when heaters are put on the truck to keep plumbing lines from freezing.

    Speaking of plumbing, food trucks like the Crave Truck are filled with water each day to provide their hot water heaters the liquid needed for washing hands in the hand-sink, washing and sanitizing dishes in the 3-compartment double 36”-drainboard-sinks, and mopping floors with water from the mop-sink.

    And like any commercial kitchen, cooking and serving food to the public generates refuse which must be hauled away on garbage day from the “garage” like any other restaurant.
    As to the argument of unfair advantage by not paying for “air-conditioning?” Restaurants pay more to provide the service of a comfortable environment with tables and chairs for the enjoyment of their diners. For example, a tasty waffle with fresh strawberries at our favorite local pancake house costs around $12. That is for a traditional Brussels waffle which has the food cost of flour, water, eggs, butter and fresh strawberries vs a Liege waffle from the Crave Truck which has the food cost of flour, milk, butter, eggs, imported Belgian pearl sugar, real vanilla, powdered sugar, fresh strawberries, and disposable paper for less than $5.

    In addition, margins on food costs are based on volume, given the 16’x7’ commercial kitchen space of the Crave Truck vs the local pancake house with a large kitchen, more than likely the Crave Truck pays more for its ingredients. Air-conditioning cost vs gasoline fuel cost… ?

  2. Mike McGlauchlin Jun 13, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Have the proponents thought of a boycott of the brick and mortar establishments? 1 weekend don’t eat out in Peoria. Take your money, time and eat at the food trucks.

  3. Mobile Cuisine Jun 13, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    For a protest like that to work, there would need to be more than a lack of dining at restaurants. Sure it would hurt the local restaurants for that weekend, but I doubt they would report their losses to the media.

    A barrage of emails or phone calls can turn a politician’s mind on a subject rather quickly, unless of course, said politician is already receiving political contributions from the individual restaurant owners or the local restaurant association.

  4. bdl Feb 9, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    Since the city of Peoria allows food carts downtown in the summer, I see no reason to not approve food trucks.

    Gary Sandberg died almost 2 years ago, so he is no longer on the city council.

  5. rAH Apr 17, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    I live in Peoria (originally from Florida). The local government is way off base on a majority of issues related to efficient economic development. From some of the highest property taxes in the midwest to just loosing the CAT headquarters (after over a century). Sadly the politicians for the most part seem to pay very little attention to what works elsewhere and what doesn't. Like much of Illinois Peoria has negative growth and declining real estate values. I am optimistic things will one day improve but for now I am sadly not surprised by the vote. Peoria needs a reality check.

  6. Rick Wojth Apr 18, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    Possibly a few food trucks would slow the exodus to East Peoria' s levee district. Are you aware you can eat at COSCO , without being a member. $1.50.buys a quarter pound all beef frankfurter or bratwurst and a refillable drink of your choosing . I think the competition a couple of football fields away from the warehouse district , is a bigger problem than a few food trucks.

  7. Tara Sep 30, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    I agree that food trucks would be great for the area and would bring money to Peoria with the taxes they will be paying.

    One thing I'm noticing that the article lacks is what the reasoning for voting against it is. There are only opinions. I know that having a health department random check would be tough to do when the truck is mobile. Does the cost of policing the quality and rules for the trucks outweigh the permit price they are charging? Is there a set plan on what is allowed and not allowed to be sold from the truck? Do they not have clear guidelines for what the regulations are? If the council doesn't have all the logistics of how to make this happen, then voting no for now is a good idea. It is better than taking a chance with food quality and people getting sick.

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