Welcome to ChicagoFoodCarts.com

We want to bring mobile food to Chicago. Thought of and inspired with our own aspiration to start a mobile food business, ChicagoFoodCarts.com wants to start a movement to bring mobile food to the streets of Chicago. Let’s start the mobile food revolution in Chicago that other great cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco have had for decades.

Join us in bringing mobile food to Chicago.

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Chicago halting a food trucks spirit

Today, the Chicago city council is going to approve a food truck ordinance that is less than ideal for a food truck operator. Yes, it will allow them to assemble their menu items fresh and hot which they were not able to do prior to this doctrine, but they still have to operate out side a 200 foot radius of any brick and mortar dining establishment. How is this fair?

Food truck operators complain that restrictions in the ordinance expected to be approved Wednesday protect bricks-and-mortar competitors too much. (Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune / September 15, 2011)

Food truck operators complain that restrictions in the ordinance expected to be approved Wednesday protect bricks-and-mortar competitors too much. (Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune / September 15, 2011)

The ordinance doesn’t serve the needs of the lunch-seeking public. It benefits the brick-and-mortar eateries, whose owners don’t want the competition.

Those business owners complain that the food trucks park near their restaurants and hijack customers. A traditional four-walls-and-a-roof restaurant has higher overhead, including real estate taxes, the owners argue. Yes, but it also has air conditioning, table seating, restrooms and maybe a liquor license. If that business model doesn’t work, then maybe those restaurants should have their own trucks. Some of them already plan to do so.

In other cities, the reverse is sometimes true: A popular food truck becomes an incubator for a new restaurant.

Restauranteurs and established places to eat need not complain and instead welcome the ever evolving competition. What are your thoughts?

Quotes taken from the Chicago Tribune

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Food Carts Gaining Taction with Chicago Officials

In an article written in the Chicago Tribune, city officials seem to be warming up to the idea of licensing food carts to distribute fresh food to the public.

Aaron Ramirez - Taquero Fusion

Aaron Ramirez takes an order this month from Kap Pitarys at the Taquero Fusion truck in the West Loop. With Mayor Rahm Emanuel announcing his support for food trucks this year, an alderman has reintroduced a food truck ordinance that would allow onboard cooking, among other provisions. (Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune / September 15, 2011)

Let’s take a look at an excerpt from said article:

Although the Emanuel administration seems to be more open to many nontraditional food entrepreneurs, food carts may be the final frontier. Street vendors of fresh corn, fruits and vegetables operate in a legal limbo, where they are often tolerated but cannot get licenses and thus can be ticketed.

Although licensing provisions exist for food carts on Park District land, attempts to come up with a broader ordinance have consistently failed. But the University of Chicago’s Institute for Justice believes that, with food truck fever in the air, the time may finally be right to legalize carts also. To that end, it launched My Streets My Eats, a campaign that shows citizens how to express support for mobile food vending (both trucks and carts) and provides law students to help entrepreneurs navigate the legal maze.

“We will continue our campaign to give cart owners the freedoms to prepare food from carts, to operate before 10 in the morning and to operate all over the city,” institute Director Beth Milnikel wrote in an email.

To that, Spielfogel offered some of the most pro-cart sentiments to roll out of City Hall in decades. “We are honestly looking at any strategy that gets fresh food into every community, and I think food carts are certainly a very good strategy for that,” he said. “Plus, they help us grow local entrepreneurs.”

This kind of message has generated cautious converts among advocates who, until very recently, had little hope for the city’s food policies.

“I believe that the new mayor is really working to improve the environment across the board,” Logan Square Kitchen’s Murray said. “But it’s not going to be easy to change a whole culture.”

Our friends at the IJ Clinic are really leading the charge to gain support for passing a food cart ordinance with the My Streets My Eats program. Myself along with a few others are working on a draft of a separate food cart ordinance that would describe strict rules for food carts as opposed to food trucks. More to come in the near future.

Let us know what you think about food carts vs. food trucks. Should they have the same rules for serving food?

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NRA Show Tech Take-over

Tech Take-over: There is going to be a huge social media presence this year at the Show. From their own NRA Show mobile app for smartphones to navigate the Show to offering the first global trade show-based group buying deals program with Bizy, the NRA Show will also offer attendees the opportunities to probe top social media companies such as Groupon, Facebook, Google and Yelp who will be exhibiting. The NRA Show will also host a series of free social media-focused education sessions to highlight best-in-class strategies and implementation, featuring both social media companies and restaurant operators. Attendees will also be able to maximize on social media opportunities with the brand new social media vehicle, eventSocial, which allows attendees to log into their social networks and e-mail accounts, identify fellow registrants already in their networks and connect with them top social networking sites.

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Chicago laws make it nearly impossible to sell tasty food on the go

The City Council is promising a freer regime but the proposed law still bans entrepreneurs from selling food in most business districts. This is where their customers would be! Help spread the word and take a look at the map the IJ Clinic created below.

Get mobile food rolling in Chicago

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A La Cart vendor threatens to sue city

Do you think it was fair to charge $30,000 for a food cart? To me this was highway robbery and seemed like the whole A La Cart program was setup to fail. Post your comments and read the entire article from CityNews Toronto here

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Chicago food trucks face some road blocks

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What types of food would you like from a cart?

Today we share a few comments and what types of food you would like to see served from a cart:

What types of food would you like to see served from food carts?

You said:

- Fresh fruits and vegetables.
- All types of quality food including gourmet hamburgers, burritos, skewers, hot dogs, falafel, sandwiches, etc
- Pastries and baked goods.
- Grilled Breakfasts, shwarma/kabobs, German food, knishes, etc.
- Indian and Middle Eastern food
- Hot wings, deli sandwiches and various salads
- Czech food like dumplings, schintzel and awesome desserts
- I would like to see foods that are created with locally grown and
locally produced products.

Do you want to see food carts on the streets of Chicago?

You said:

- Yes I do, Chicago is so behind in this area. For what reason I don’t
know, because it sounds like a money maker for the city
- Yes, not only would I like to see them legal in Chicago I would like
to own one of my own.

Thanks for all the support and keep spreading the word.

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Where do you get your favorite hot dog in Chicago?

I was walking down the street yesterday and brushed passed a 101.9 FM street team asking what your favorite hot dog in Chicago was? So I decided to ask you.

Where do you get your favorite hot dog in and around Chicago?

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Catering Test Day 1

Mark today as another step forward closer to opening a food business. Today my family and I rented out the shared kitchen, The Dinner Club in Homer Glen to test out what we plan to be a catering business. The owners, Rich and his wife, I apologize for not remembering your name, were very accommodating and let us use the kitchen and all of its cookware, utensils, ovens and dishwasher. All we had to bring was the food, spices and pans to store our finished meal for tomorrow’s big game party.

We will serving about 25 guests that will be asked to provide feedback on the items we chose to test off of our catering menu. They include eggplant parmesan, baked mostaccioli, turkey meatballs, grass-fed beef burgers, roasted tomato salsa, potato wedges and a mixed greens salad. This was our first crack at working in a large kitchen together and let me tell you I would trade anything to use a kitchen like this one. There was so much space and very reasonably priced for the 3 hours we were there. Has anyone rented a shared kitchen before? I would be curious to hear your experience in the comments.

In the meantime take a look at some photos from our catering test day.

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Food Sanitation Manager Certification Passed

I realize I have been dark for what seems like a year but has only really been a month. In that time I have completed the ServSafe Food Sanitation Manager Certification class and passed! My certification should be coming in the mail in the coming weeks.

Now it’s time to work on a new business plan with a menu for a small catering company. We plan on testing it out first for friends and family to see how we like it and if we can handle the day-to-day along with having full-time jobs.

It should be an exciting time and I greatly appreciate all the support we have received thus far. Keep it coming and will share the progress as it rolls out.

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