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Food Trucks May Start Docking At O’Hare And Midway Airports

While food trucks are getting more parking tickets in Chicago

Food trucks could be coming to O’Hare and Midway.
Chicago Food Truck Fest
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

While city officials attempt to upgrade dining options inside Midway International Airport, the city council is debating whether to allow food trucks outside both Midway and at O’Hare International Airport. If aldermen adopt an ordinance introduced on Wednesday, the trucks would serve ride-sharing and taxi waiting areas at the airports, according to the Sun-Times.

The newspaper compared allowing food trucks at the airports to lifting the restrictions on Uber and Lyft serving the airports. Meanwhile, the Sun-Times sister publication examined the history of how city officials and the traditional restaurant industry have worked to stifle food trucks in Chicago. The Reader takes note of the growth of industry in other cities over the last nine years while Chicago issues more parking tickets to food trucks in response to the August Sun-Times/ABC Chicago investigation that police weren’t citing food trucks for illegally parking downtown. The number of parking tickets has greatly increased, according to The Reader. The article also ponders on how the August “investigation” may have been a “calculated maneuver by some group or political force.”

Meanwhile, even though Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s city cracks down on trucks, he still wants to do food trucks a solid by allowing them at the airports. Traffic patterns can be a doozy at airports with drivers who don’t know how to use a cell phone lot, especially those who dock on the shoulder waiting to make a pick up. But the ordinance has language to make sure food trucks wouldn’t interfere with public safety.

While the Illinois Restaurant Association wouldn’t talk to The Reader for its story, IRA President Sam Toia did chat with the Sun-Times. Toia told them that he was in favor of increasing the maximum time food trucks could park in a specific space. That topic has been the matter of debate, as food trucks feel they don’t have enough time to make it worth their whiles. Toia wouldn’t commit to a specific time, only saying that two hours was too short. He added that he was adamant about retaining the 200-foot barrier that keeps food trucks from parking near brick-and-mortar restaurants.

Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD)

10000 W O'Hare Ave, Chicago, IL 60666 (773) 686-2200 Visit Website

Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)

5700 S Cicero Ave, Chicago, IL 60638 (773) 838-0600 Visit Website