It was a warm spring evening in the city of Chicago. There was not a cloud in the sky, and there was a warm breeze that helped keep everyone warm once the sun dropped below the horizon. With over 400 Chicagoans showing up to partake in the city’s first food truck gathering, the setting was perfect.
*wakes up from his dream*
Ok, so it wasn’t warm, the temperature actually hovered around freezing. The sky was grey and throughout the evening, the heavy rain fall only got heavier and even produced some ¼ to ¾ inch hail.
With all that stated, there was still a grand turnout (an estimated 400 to 500 people) for last night’s first food truck summit at Goose Island on Clybourn. Parking in the area was scarce, however that fact and the weather didn’t stop people from showing up to support this event.
From our conversations with many in the crowd, we found that the largest reason for their braving of these horrendous elements was their curiosity of the city’s newest food craze. After sampling the food from the trucks that showed up (Southern Mac n Cheese, Flirty Cupcakes, Sweet Miss Givings, 5411 Empanadas, Tamalli Space Charros, Hummingbird Kitchen, Gaztro-Wagon) none that we spoke with were disappointed, and most were thrilled at the idea that should the proposed food truck legislation get passed, there will be even more truck types to select from throughout the city and its neighboring suburbs.
The tent provided was used as the staging area for all of the people waiting in line in addition to a place to congregate to avoid the elements. The propane warming stations were surrounded by happy eaters of all ages. The laughs and joyful screams filled the area all night, especially when the thunder and lightning made their presence known.
We met numerous people who are planning to or would like to open up their own food trucks such as Lisette Arroyo of Taquero Fusion (which aptly plans to open its doors on Cinco de Mayo) and Aaron Crumbaugh of Wagyu Wagon (He hopes to hit the city streets on July 1st).
Inside the restaurant was Time out Chicago’s very own Heather Shouse, selling and signing her newly released book Food Trucks: Dispatches and Recipes from the Best Kitchens on Wheels, which we purchased and will be reviewing shortly.
If the city’s aldermen don’t get the clue from last night’s event, it will truly be a shame. The proposed legislation which will allow food trucks the ability to prepare meals on their trucks should be passed unanimously based on the turnout alone, no matter what the restaurant lobbies proclaim. The residents of the Chicagoland area want food trucks and the fresh style of food they will be able to provide once the legislation is enacted.
We hope to see more of these events in the city this summer so that more people will be able to experience this type of crowd as well as the tasty delights that these gourmet food trucks were able to share.
The success of this food truck summit can be summed up in the fact that only 30 minutes after the event started the trucks were already starting to run out of some of their menu items and although the weather became progressively worse, most if not all of the trucks had completely sold out an hour before the scheduled ending.