Mobilizing: Can Chefs Get Chicago to Green-Light Food Trucks?

Chef Matt Maroni's food truck, the Gaztro-Wagon, parked in downtown Chicago

On the final day of the 2010 National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago, Mobi Munch—the country’s “first mobile food service infrastructure company,” according to its website—drove its slick prototype onto the “Food Truck Spot” pavilion. Attendees drifted in and out of the crimson red vehicle, which was souped up with gas heat, waste containment, and a POS system. A banner overhead rallied: “Take your eats to the streets with Mobi Munch!”

If an entrepreneur had been moved to buy the truck and speed off to launch his own itinerant eatery, he wouldn’t have made it beyond the parking lot: food trucks—specifically those from which chefs both prepare and serve food—are illegal on the Windy City’s streets. (The city does permit mobile vendors to sell prepackaged goods that were cooked in a

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