News Release
City Services

March 3, 2016

Chicago To Host Food Truck Festivals At Daley Plaza And Willis Tower

Weekly events to support food truck operators will run from March through October

Mika Stambaugh Director of Public Information     (312) 744-5365

For the second year in a row, the city of Chicago’s Small Business Center (SBC) in the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) is hosting “Food Truck Fests” from March through October at Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St. and Willis Tower, 233 South Wacker Drive from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  This year, mobile boutique operators will be invited to join the food trucks at Daley Plaza.
 
“These festivals create businesses opportunities for Chicago’s food entrepreneurs while adding to Chicago’s wealth of outdoor festivals, special events and gatherings that bring people from across the city together,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “I look forward to seeing and tasting what our local innovative businesses have to offer.”
 
The Daley Plaza fests are scheduled to be held weekly and the Willis Tower fests will be hosted monthly. The events will include a rotating line-up of trucks offering different food options at each location.
 
“These festivals are one more way the city of Chicago supports the innovative mobile truck industry across the city,” BACP Commissioner Maria Guerra Lapacek said. “These festivals are a win-win – they encourage even more people to enjoy the city’s growing culinary options while supporting these innovative small businesses.”
 
Food Truck Fest dates are listed below and participating trucks will be announced on the City’s SBC social media sites and using the hashtag #Chifoodtruckfest. The SBC is on Twitter at @ChiSmallBiz, Facebook at /ChiSmallBiz, Pinterest at ChicagoBACP, and Instagram at ChicagoBACP.  

Willis Tower Dates:

Daley Plaza Dates:

March 31 March 4, 11, 18, 25
April 29 April 8, 15, 21
May 20 May 6, 11, 27
June 30 June 3, 10, 17, 21
July 22 July 1, 6, 15, 29
August 31 August 5, 12, 19, 22
September 23 September 2, 9, 16, 21, 30
October 21 October 7, 14, 26

The food trucks are also proven to quite an attraction as they travel throughout the city. To provide the same experience to residents across the city, there are currently 35 food truck stands, up from 21 stands in 2012, where food trucks can operate.

The Emanuel administration has taken a number of steps to promote innovation and support the mobile food truck and boutique industries:

  • In July 2012, the city passed an ordinance to expand food truck operations in neighborhoods across Chicago. The ordinance, based on the input received from restauranteurs, the food truck industry, and local aldermen, legalized expanded food truck operations while maintaining public health standards. Today, there are nearly 300 mobile food vendor licensees active in Chicago, showing the value of this industry.
  • In October 2012, the city passed an ordinance that established 21 mobile food truck stands at locations across Chicago. Since then, the City has added 14 more locations, bringing to total number of mobile food truck stands to 35 as of today.
  • The administration has taken significant steps to revitalize the Taste of Chicago food festival, including the addition of top-level music acts, innovations such as pop-up restaurants and chef du jour, as well as creative ideas like adding food trucks to the evening concerts.
  • In April 2015, City Council approved an ordinance to allow seasonal, outdoor food vendors that operate at multiple special events or neighborhood festivals to purchase a business permit for longer periods of time, coinciding with the outdoor special event season.
  • In August 2015, the city allowed mobile boutiques that sell goods such as clothing and shoes to participate in the Daley Plaza Food Truck Fest, farmer’s markets and other local events. Such mobile boutique operators will be invited to join the food trucks at Daley Plaza again this year.


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