CITY HALL — Food cart vendors can now be licensed by the city after the City Council signed off on a licensing plan Thursday.
The $350 license for about 1,500 pushcarts serving food in the city would remove them from what some have called "a shadow economy," and also would call on them to observe regulations on cleanliness and storage, as well as require all food to be prepared ahead of time in a licensed kitchen.
According to lead sponsor Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th), the license will make the pushcart vendors "legitimate" businesses and clear the way for hot dog street vendors like those found in New York City.
"As a former peddler, I support it," 35th Ward Ald. Ariel Reboyras said.
Pushcart vendors are known for selling tamales, corn and other food on the street, but had legally been limited to frozen treats and whole fruits.
Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), however, immediately moved to restrict them in the Downtown business district with a proposed ordinance submitted at the same meeting.
In other business:
• The Council cleared the way for City Winery to sell bottles of wine from its Riverwalk location by approving an ordinance Reilly had sponsored.
• The Council mandated lactation rooms at O'Hare and Midway airports, with lead sponsor Ald. Edward Burke (14th) saying, "It is only the right thing to do."
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