NORTH PARK — Food truck operators have long complained about the hostile reception they've received in Chicago, but one neighborhood is laying out the welcome mat for the restaurants on wheels.
Based on the overwhelmingly positive response to Food Truck Fridays, introduced in the fall, a North Park community group is proposing to make the arrangement more permanent by establishing a food truck stand in the area.
The Hollywood North Park Community Association board, along with Northeastern Illinois University, is supporting the application for a food truck stand, which would be in the 3600 block of West Bryn Mawr Avenue, on the south side of the street, bordering the university.
The association laid out the benefits of the stand in a Facebook post:
"Establishing the stand allows Food Trucks to visit more frequently, providing us with more options for vendors and — quite literally — putting our neighborhood on the map for foodies.... We think this could be an excellent continuation of the community-building we enjoyed with the event last fall, as well as an opportunity to draw new people to our neighborhood to enjoy not just the food trucks, but our restaurants, shops, and businesses."
There are 37 designated food truck stands in the city, each with space for two trucks. Only trucks with city-issued mobile food preparer or mobile food dispenser licenses can operate out of the stands, for no longer than two hours at a time per truck.
The proposed North Park stand would be the first north of Wrigleyville and the first west of Western Avenue.
Assuming the stand is given the green light, the community association would likely start out by inviting trucks to take advantage of the location, "until we get better known on the city map among both the vendors and the foodies who follow them," said Carmen Rodriguez, the association's acting president.
Residents are asked to weigh in with their support or concerns, either via comment on the Hollywood North Park Facebook page or email HNPCA1951@gmail.com.
"I'm excited that, so far, there's been so much positive feedback," Rodriguez said.
"I think the community enjoys this event and is looking forward to having more of this kind of thing close by," she said.