In Chicago, Cooking and Driving Don’t Mix

December 13, 2010  |  

(Wall Street Journal) — Tiffany Kurtz was cruising the downtown streets here in her powder-blue van when a group of women flagged her down.  She punched her hazard lights on, pulled into a loading zone and began selling her wares. Within minutes, a police officer rolled up with his lights flashing. “We’re stopping the sale of cupcakes,” she recalls him saying, before he handed her a ticket and shooed her away.  Food trucks—essentially restaurants on wheels—have taken off in cities such as Los Angeles and New York, spurred by the weak economy, trendy fare and the proliferation of social media, like Twitter. Food & Wine magazine voted an L.A. food-truck chef one of its “Best New Chefs” of 2010 and the Food Network has a show devoted to such vendors. But in Chicago, one of the nation’s most progressive culinary cities, the trucks are held back by restrictive rules and operate in a legal twilight zone.

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