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Letter: Support outdoor dining along lakefront

Dan Trujillo, a food vendor and 2nd Ward resident, hopes the Council will permit food trucks at the lakefront

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Patrons at a food truck in Evanston in 2018.

To the Evanston City Council:

My name is Dan Trujillo, I am a 2nd Ward resident and small business owner in Evanston.

I’m writing to express my support for the Council’s proposal to amend the outdated Evanston Lake Front Master Plan. This Plan was created over a decade ago, and while there was community support for the Plan at the time, communities are fluid and it is the responsibility of our elected officials to adjust to the developing needs of our community. At the twilight of a global pandemic that has decimated the restaurant industry and many Evanston small businesses, it is time that we start to think of new and responsible ways to support outdoor dining along the lakefront.

The lakefront is a public space. It belongs to everyone in the community; not just residents along the lakefront.

As Evanston residents, small business owners, and food service providers, my partner Chef Molly Laatsch and I welcome this proposal as it provides more opportunities for local businesses like ours to thrive in our community. Your proposal is also a step in the right direction toward responsibly integrating food trucks and mobile food vendors into public spaces.

I join the Council and other community members in their concern about the environmental impact this amendment could have if this project is not done in tandem with residents and food vendors. For our part, Wandering Café offers a sustainable take on street food as Evanston’s first and only licensed mobile food bike. We work to support local farms and maintain a low carbon footprint in a way that traditional beach concession stands cannot.

As a licensed food vendor and minority and woman owned business, Wandering Café looks forward to being part of the initial pilot program this summer. Chef Molly and I are also happy to assist the Human Services Committee, the City Council, and The Environmental Health Division with any future proposals and initiatives to reform the City’s licensing and permitting processes for food trucks and mobile food vendors.

Best Regards,

Dan Trujillo

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