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Food Trucks On Evanston City Council Agenda

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jul 7, 2010 8:40PM

While Chicago waits for various aldermen to review the food truck legislation proposed by Alderman Scott Waugespack and Gaztro-Wagon's Matt Maroni and ask, "Ubi est mea?", one of our neighbors to the north could be on the verge of having fully fledged food trucks on their streets first. One of the agenda items for tonight's Evanston City Council meeting is the subject of food trucks.

According to Carl Caneva, Division Manager of Environmental Health for the Evanston Health Department, the suburb has not imposed a ban on food trucks that can prepare food and serve directly to customers, "although there are no trucks that do that currently." Like in Chicago, Evanston's food trucks are currently limited to those licensed to sell pre-packaged goods, such as ice cream, hot dogs and standard roach coach fare.

Caneva said that another item to consider before food trucks can get the go-ahead are current idling ordinances on the books, which limit where and how long a truck vendor can operate in a specific area. "Since Evanston is a densely populated city, we don't see these trucks doing business in downtown or in direct competition with restaurants currently in operation. They could, however, theoretically do business in areas near the lake."

As for food safety issues, Caneva said that, so long as a food truck operator can prove that operating a truck doesn't conflict with food safety, the aforementioned idling ordinances and other restrictions, obtaining a license to operate a food truck should be a relatively straightforward process.

A definitive answer in favor of food trucks could come as good news for Vince DiBattista of Campagnola and Union Pizzeria. DiBattista spent a lot of money for a brand new food truck he hopes to have up and running soon called Humming Bird Kitchen (847-475-6680,, which is being advertised as "Chicago's first fully functional food truck." Unnamed persons involved with Humming Bird said that, if Evanston allows for the operation of fully functional food trucks, Humming Bird will sell "gourmet sandwiches" (think panini), finger foods, and even use the truck to cater events. These people didn't want to go fully on record, as the issue of whether they can roam the streets cooking food isn't set in stone just yet. For now they, like all folks longing to chase food trucks around the area, should take the cautious, "wait-and-see" approach.