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Food Truck Haven, Lunch Counter Hopes to Open as 'The Garage'

By Chloe Riley | April 30, 2013 6:38am | Updated on April 30, 2013 2:00pm

WEST LOOP — The Garage, a space that unites food trucks and those who love them, is gearing up for a grand opening.

The space at 116 N. Aberdeen St., which owner Dan Salls calls a food-truck commissary, has a full working kitchen and 1,600 square feet of garage space where trucks can park, cook and reload.

“It’s kind of a hokey name, but it makes sense. It’s where trucks come, it’s where everybody gathers,” he said.

With the installation of the kitchen, Salls, who owns The Salsa Truck, figured he might as well open a lunch counter, too.

As Salls awaits the city's approval to open, he dished on details of his vision for The Garage.

The menu will mostly feature items from The Salsa Truck, but each week he’ll also put an item from one truck as a special on the lunch counter’s menu.

When he’s not slinging salsa in the daytime, Salls sees The Garage being used for events and pop-up dinners for trucks trying to get the word out about their food.

Since getting the first food truck license in the city, Salls said he’s gotten hundreds of requests from those who want to break into the business of truckin’ food.  

So far, Salls has the Fat Shallot’s sandwich truck and Husky Hog Bar-B-Que truck on board at The Garage.

“The whole point is, we’re trying to make trucks succeed in Chicago, because right now the odds are stacked against them,” Salls said.

Joe Woodel, owner of Husky Hog Bar-B-Que catering, reached out to Salls for advice on starting his food truck after reading an article about the Salsa Truck owner.

Now, Husky Hog is about a month away from debuting as a truck with a coveted parking space at The Garage.

“It’s super awesome,” Woodel said. “I think it’s gonna be a beehive effect. You’re gonna have this constant buzz of all these different people in the industry being able to join together.”

Ultimately, Salls hopes to host 10 trucks at The Garage. He has about half that many now and urges interested trucks to reach out to salsa@thesalsatruck.com for a space in The Garage.