Evanston aldermen on the Human Services Committee tonight are scheduled to discuss whether the city should permit the use of mobile food trucks in the city.

The owners of Campagnola and Union Pizzeria are seeking to buy a mobile food truck that they’d use to cater private events.

Evanston aldermen on the Human Services Committee tonight are scheduled to discuss whether the city should permit the use of mobile food trucks in the city.

The owners of Campagnola and Union Pizzeria are seeking to buy a mobile food truck that they’d use to cater private events.

And if you were driving by Union Pizzeria on Chicago Avenue yesterday you might have caught sight of a shiny white mobile food truck parked in front with its awning extended over the sidewalk — apparently on a demonstration stop to show what such a vehicle might look like.

The meeting agenda describes a mobile food vehicle as a “commercially manufactured, motorized mobile food unit in which ready-to-eat food is cooked, wrapped, packaged, processed, or portioned for service, sale or distribution.”

It also suggests that such vehicles only be legal if they’re “owned and operated by the owner or agent of a licensed restaurant in the city.”

Mobile food trucks have become a popular dining alternative in major cities, including New York where the City Council last month held a hearing on proposed new restrictions on the vehicles, as well as in Cincinnati, San Francisco and Oakland, Calif.

The committee tonight is also scheduled to continue its debate about whether Evanstonians should be allowed to raise chickens in their backyards. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Civic Center.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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7 Comments

  1. Mobile Food Trucks

    Of course these should be banned. The very idea of permitting someone to start a business, hiring people, paying taxes and provide a service is against everything Evanston stands for.

  2. Mobile food trucks

    The concern that I have about this idea is the impact it would have on the restaurants that are already in the area and are paying rent to be there.

    When you allow mobile trucks to compete with "brick and mortar" restaurants you reduce the annual sales of these merchants, thereby reducing the value of the stores they rent (the more a merchant can make in a location, the more the merchant is willing to pay for rent) thereby reducing the value of the properties (which is based on their rental income) and the real estate tax base.

    It makes great sense to have mobile vendors in places where there are no other food vendors so that they are offering a service that is not already available.  Catering an outdoor affair would also make sense, however, when you expand this to compete with the wonderful restaurants in place in downtown Evanston, you just make it harder for them to stay in business.

    The last time I looked, there were at least one or two vacant restaurants offered for rent downtown with no takers.

  3. Mobile food trucks

    I was in L.A. recently and saw these trucks all over.  The poor restaurant owners must be in an uproar.  If you allow these new trucks, your only hurting restaurants that are already hurting with this economy.

  4. Down with protectionism

    Allow ’em!! Downtown Evanston is over run with mediocrity. A little competition may help freshen things up.

  5. Food Carts and Trucks

     I am all for mobile food trucks- but not if the requirement is to have an actual brick and mortar establishment to get a license. The true revolution about the mobile food truck in LA, Seattle, Portland, etc is that there is not a brick and mortar restaurant attached to these. Campagnola/Union is the restaurant applying for this permit- so the idea that a mobile food  truck will increase food diversity in Evanston is flawed. If it is required to have a brick and mortar restaurant to produce the food this really is nothing more than a restaurant driving around offering their same boring food to the people on the street. Let the real revolution begin and allow mobile food trucks to be licensed by the health dept to produce all their food within the truck- not offsite. In addition, allow for food carts, not just gas guzzling trucks.

    Then we will see some real innovation and actually might enter the culinary world the west coast offers.  If you want to learn about the endless options of mobile eating check out this blog http://www.foodcartsportland.com/

  6. Food Carts/Trucks

      That would be great for at least several groups.

      Think of all the construction projects that could be served as well as businesses that are not close to restaurants [you can’t eat at the same ‘one’ every day]. 

     Even in downtown Chicago with all of its restaurants, you see multiple trucks lined-up at noon by the Merc Exchange [or at least until the merger] and other locations for people to grab a coffee and bagel in the A.M..

      Even NU could use some trucks/carts to provide variety.  Norris could use some good competition [quality and prices].

      I remember the hot dog carts and trucks at U.Chicago which provided some good variety—and the [public] outdoor barbecue on campus [though probably student run].  

     Obviously they would have to be licensed and some form of inspection I guess, but it would certainly seem a good alternative to those people not close to restaurants/fast food or who would just like more variety.

      Maybe even some NU students could set-up such businesses to help with tuition[!]. 

     

     

     

     

  7. Competition or Catering?

    The article states, "The owners of Campagnola and Union Pizzeria are seeking to buy a mobile food truck that they’d use to cater private events." What does catering private events and local restaurants have to do with one another? Even if they wanted to open this up around town to the public – I am all for it! This is what competition is all about. This is what brings diversity to a stagnate downtown Evanston. Let them expand.

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