A taco truck recently hit the streets of Paris, yet Chicago is still fighting over whether to allow people to cook on food trucks here. And it's having a negative impact. Last year, a number of trucks ceased operations, including two leaders of the movement—Meatyballs Mobile and Gaztro-Wagon. Now, Homage Street Food is joining the pack of the fallen.
Homage, which sought to bring the world's street food closer to Chicago, posted a note on its site a couple of weeks ago that it was just tired of fighting against the city to run their business. Husband and wife team Mike Maloney and Elaine Toner worked tirelessly daily, but always feared not making money or having to toss out the unsold product they had to cook at their off-site facility.
"In the end we realized that we could not be proud of selling disassembled, hours old food from a hot box to people," they wrote. Homage thanked fans and promised they weren't going away for good. "Right now we have new prospects in the works and hope to return soon."
Here's an excerpt from their long statement. To read the full post, hit their website:
The idea of running a food truck was enticing but what we wanted more than anything was to make food we were proud of, the truck was simply an affordable entry point for us. The food truck movement hit Chicago like a culinary tsunami, bringing a change in the food scene that the city just wasn’t prepared for. From early 2010 to today we have seen no changes in the city’s plan, and over the last few months it became clear to us that the city had little intention of moving forward with a new ordinance. Part of the hold up can mostly be attributed to some claiming trucks have an unfair advantage. However every truck owner can tell that is not the truth. For example some of our expenses included a kitchen license, a mobile vendor license, truck insurance, business insurance, gas, paying for truck or equipment breakdowns, packaging, labels, and product. If you are lucky enough to have a kitchen of your own you pay rent, garbage, pest control, and a million other incidentals that everyone in the food service industry has to worry about. On the other side a major difference is that brick and mortar’s are not told what hours they can sell food and how far they have to be from anyone else serving food. When it became clear that the city had little intention to change the laws, we knew that it was time to move on.
· Food Trucks in Paris? U.S. Cuisine Finds Open Minds, and Mouths [NYT]
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· Truck Farming, Two New Meetups and Cajun Fare From a Katrina Survivor [AV Club]
· All Food Truck Coverage on Eater Chicago