Chicago’s First Food Truck Summit
If Tuesday night’s attendance at Chicago’s first Food Truck Summit (despite the pouring rain) was any indication, I’d say Chicagoans fully embrace curbside meals. It’s been estimated that between 400-500 patrons braved the elements to enjoy the city’s newest food craze. The heated tent just outside Goose Island on Clybourn was good enough to keep most of us food truck followers focused on the real prize that night…the food! A half-dozen food trucks were in attendance which included: The Southern Mac & Cheese Truck, Gaztro-Wagon, Hummingbird Kitchen, 5411 Empanadas, Tamalli Space Churros, Sweet Miss Givings, and Flirty Cupcakes. Even a representative from Taquero Fusion, which will launch in May, was in attendance to hand out flyers.
I was lucky enough to sample the Beef (w/ chimichurri sauce), BBQ Chicken and Caramelized Onion offerings from 5411 Empanadas, all of which were amazing. After devouring the delicious Gaztro-Wagon pork pozole naan-wich, I treated myself to a tasty dessert at Flirty Cupcakes. I would have loved to have tried the gourmet mac & cheese from The Southern Mac, the Chicken Milanese sandwich at Hummingbird Kitchen and more, but I figured I have all spring/summer to hunt these other food trucks down.
What I didn’t realize was this event was organized by author Heather Shouse who was actually inside Goose Island selling and signing copies of her new book Food Trucks: Dispatches and Recipes from the Best Kitchens on Wheels. Also in attendance was Alderman Scott Waguespack showing his support for a piece of legislation that is currently in front of the Chicago City Council that would permit food trucks to cook inside their vehicles as opposed to only being allowed to sell pre-prepared meals. Based on the popularity and thriving success of food trucks in other parts of the country, as well as the impressive Summit turnout in lieu of the inclement weather, I can’t imagine city officials not getting the hint about Chicago’s explosive food truck potential.