Delicious on WheelsPosted by Helen Fernandes on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
Tags for this Article: brew pub, Chicago, food trucks, Goose Island, Heather Shouse, NPR, parking lot
I can honestly say that my fascination with food trucks started long before the current trend. I have sought them out in the various cities we have visited and at times even planned a whole trip around eating at a particular one. The idea of finding the treasured truck, lining up in anticipation with strangers equally as excited as you for a bite of the tasty offerings has long appealed to me. Always one to share and sample other’s food (much to my husband’s dismay) I am never fully satisfied until I can try a bit of everything.
Imagine my delight when driving to work the other day listening to NPR I happened upon an interview with a Heather Shouse, the current senior food and drink correspondent for Time Out Chicago as well as the Chicago reporter for Food & Wine Magazine. She has just written a book called “Food Trucks – Dispatches and Recipes From the Best Kitchens on Wheels” and the launch would be that evening in what would be the first ever food truck summit. Rather than do a typical book signing tour, Shouse decided to invite seven food trucks from Chicagoland to serve small portions of their signature dishes in the Goose Island Brew Pub parking lot.
Along with two great friends and equally passionate foodies, I trekked to Goose Island in what was Chicago’s worst down pour of the year; you could not ask for a worse night for this partly outdoor event, however, to gage from the turn out you would never have thought it was. I got there about 7:45pm (the event went from 7 – 10pm) and most of the food trucks were sold out moments after I arrived. The few that were not had lines that would sell them out in short order. This setback is likely due to the fact that an ordinance in Chicago does not allow for food trucks to cook on the truck, they can only keep their foods warm. In a nutshell, local restaurants are threatened by the competition, so everything must be made elsewhere and brought onto the truck to be sold. This hurdle combined with the terrible weather, left some of the food trucks having underestimated their offerings.
Inside the brew pub things were just as busy with people seeking shelter from the rain. A line of fans with copies of the book to be signed by Shouse and people sampling a new Belgian style beer called “Curbside” that Shouse created along with the help of head brew pub brewer Jared Rouben, kept it a packed house.
Despite of the weather and shortage of food, it was good fun and will hopefully will give rise to a regular occurrence of events of food trucks gathering in Chicago.