Parkridge is considering allowing food trucks to operate.

Park Ridge City Council members will soon consider how food trucks can operate in the city without threatening existing local restaurants.

The city has responded to a number of inquiries about whether to allow traveling food and beverage options, Community Conservation and Development Director Drew Ausumve told aldermen at a May 1 board of directors meeting. Ausumve said those questions seem to be related to Park Ridge’s growing reputation as a dining and entertainment destination in the region.

Additionally, restaurants operating elsewhere are looking to food trucks as a way to find business during off-peak hours and days, he said. Perhaps customers will come to where they live on weekdays instead of waiting for them to visit the main stores. Over the weekend in places like Chicago’s West Loop.

City officials report that the city now allows food trucks to open at special events, such as church socials and other permitted community gatherings, and that traveling businesses like ice cream trucks drive through the city. and sell it to residents.

According to the memo, the city currently bans trucks that regularly return to a specific location or multiple trucks that regularly coexist in a designated area.

City councilors are concerned about how allowing food trucks to operate in the city will affect existing businesses, especially already bustling food districts such as the Uptown and South Park business districts. was

“What I don’t want is to be in a situation where we don’t rent a store and allow mobile food trucks. [to] It has a detrimental effect on those who do,” Mayor Marty Maloney said.

Aushamve told city councilors that one option would be to regulate where and when trucks come into town. For example, the city could allow food trucks to operate in areas without significant restaurants or food service, he said.

“Instead of saying, ‘Let’s have 10 food trucks uptown where there are already a lot of great restaurants,’ look for neighborhoods that don’t actually have a restaurant on certain days and times. It is,” he said.

Mr. Maloney accepted the idea and suggested Lutheran General Hospital as a candidate.

“If the biggest employer in town can do it and stop people from going to Portillo’s house in Niles, that’s a win,” he said. “If we could deliver food trucks to hospitals… we would save people crossing Dempster Street.”

First Ward Alderman John Moran agreed.

“I like the concept of going to areas that don’t necessarily have a lot of diners. We’re not cannibalizing our own meals,” he said.

Fifth Ward Alderman Joseph Steinfels suggested the Dee Road Metra station and an area along Higgins Road as potential sites where the city could experiment with permits for food trucks, but mobile operations have not. said it did not wish to prevent the establishment of more permanent options. those areas.

Jackie Matthews, executive director of the Park Ridge Chamber of Commerce, told lawmakers that if the city goes ahead with permitting trucks, they want permanent food and beverage outlets to take precedence.

“It will have to be heavily regulated to honor the people who invested the time and resources to create brick-and-mortar restaurants and build this growing and vibrant red-light district,” she said.

Maloney said he was initially against the idea, but after hearing from staff about options for regulating food trucks in the city, he was “intrigued” by the possibilities such a arrangement would offer. .

Aldermen have many other questions for city officials, including, if applicable, how truck liquor licenses work and how trucks pay Parkridge sales tax. and whether the city could inspect the trucks to ensure their safety. They are not “cockroach coaches”.

Aushamve said he will bring back a formal proposal to the city council outlining a possible framework for regulating food trucks in the city.

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