Food policy expert Baylen Linnekin takes a look at the current state of food truck regulations in America. While some cities have started to ease off on overly burdensome rules, it's still far too hard for some truck owners to operate:
Chicago's food truck operators, hopelessly besieged by oppressive and inane city regulations that I've characterized as "some of the worst, if not the worst, in the entire country," are now hoping the state's highest court will take up their case.
A lawsuit, filed in 2012 by the Institute for Justice on behalf of client Laura Pekarik, owner of a cupcake truck, seeks the repeal of Chicago's idiotic proximity restrictions (which bar food trucks from selling food within 200 feet of brick-and-mortar restaurants and, hence, prohibit them from operating throughout the city's downtown area), and requiring trucks to be fitted with city-monitored GPS equipment. An Illinois appellate court upheld the rules last year.
"The Illinois Supreme Court should accept review of Laura's challenge to Chicago's anti-competitive 200-foot rule," says Robert Frommer, the IJ attorney representing Pekarik, in an email to me this week. "Competition is the American Way, which is why for decades Illinois courts have struck down laws meant to enrich deep-pocketed incumbents by throttling upstart newcomers. We hope that the Court will honor that long history by striking down the rule and making it clear that a business's success should turn on how good its food is, not on who it knows at City Hall."