Alderman sees food truck bill by year's end
Years behind other cities in allowing mobile kitchens, Chicago is almost ready to change its ordinances to allow cooking on trucks. Ald. Scott Waguespack, 32nd, introduced legislation last year. (David Banks/Photo for the Tribune)
Ald. Scott Waguespack, 32nd, introduced legislation last year that would let mobile chefs cook instead of just serve prepackaged food. After months spent consensus-building, studying other cities and briefing incoming council members, he thinks they could be ready to pass something late this summer.
"By November or December for sure," he said.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the proposal "a good first step ... while maintaining stringent health regulations and protecting local business owners." His appointment of Gabe Klein to run the Department of Transportation — after Klein ran a mobile food operation in D.C. — signals an administration that is ready to deal with the regulatory issues surrounding food trucks.
The biggest potential opponent, the Illinois Restaurant Association, has yet to take a position. It is a powerful lobby led by Richard Daley's former chief of staff, so the association understands the politics of the situation well.
A representative said that its membership is "having a lot of internal discussions," which isn't surprising as proponents (Paul Kahan's Big Star) and opponents (Dan Rosenthal's Trattoria 10 and Glen Keefer's Keefer) have lined up on both sides of the measure.