ALBANY PARK — The mayor signaled his willingness Wednesday to work toward a compromise on sidewalk food vendors.
Without committing himself to legalization of street cart vendors, Mayor Rahm Emanuel compared the issue to the debate between food trucks and restaurants.
"We worked through and negotiated and now have a thriving food-truck industry and also a thriving culinary and restaurant scene," Emanuel said Wednesday at a news conference at the CTA Kimball Brown Line stop. "We weren't stymied by debate. We worked through the issues so both could thrive."
Street cart food vendors, who are now permitted to sell only uncut produce or packaged frozen desserts, have been organizing and pushing for legalization. They had a meeting scheduled later Wednesday in Rogers Park.
The Street Vendors Justice Coalition has drafted a proposed ordinance recognizing a "mobile prepared-food vendor" that would grant them a distinct city business license. It would allow them to sell and heat prepared food on the street and would also permit coffee carts, currently illegal in the city.
"I know there's legislation," Emanuel said, "and before we move forward I want to evaluate that legislation."
Emanuel did signal a proviso, saying, "We'll also work through the other issues if we have to," but he clearly seemed prepared to negotiate on the matter.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: