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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fighting for our right to Schnitzel!

It’s no secret that we've been opposed to specific, unfair & unconstitutional regulations in the new Chicago food truck ordinance. We believe that food trucks should be able to vend wherever you, the consumer, want us to; not have the government tell us where we can and can’t conduct our business based on some arbitrary reason. As many of you are aware, food trucks are currently banned to park within 200 feet of a “brick and mortar establishment”, making it almost impossible to legally park in the downtown loop. Additionally, the mandatory GPS unit that the city says we have to install at our own cost makes us feel like criminals wearing an ankle bracelet. And when the city officials who monitor the GPS see a food truck parked within 200 feet of a restaurant (regardless of whether or not the GPS unit is “accurate”) the tickets now faced are between $1,000-$2,000. Interestingly, the parking violation for parking in front of a fire hydrant is only $100, whereas when a food truck parks in front of a restaurant the fine is $2,000…. making us wonder: Is public health and safety truly the reason behind these unfair regulations? We think not.

Today, The Chicago Schnitzel King joined forces with our fellow food truckers Cupcakes for Courage and the Institute for Justice and filed a lawsuit against the City of Chicago. We are hopeful that the city will recognize the need to stop playing favorites and let the best food and/or business model win, especially since other national cities such as Los Angeles haven’t had a proximity restriction since the 1980s. Since food trucks are a vibrant symbol of the American dream, we are also hopeful that the city will realize that paving the way for big business to win only jeopardizes this American Dream. 

“Schnitzel King, what will you do if you lose?” asked a reporter today. Mayo Clinic trip, perhaps? In all seriousness, we plan to keep on fighting for our right to schnitzel in the loop, and get this ordinance changed. Chicago is our home, and we want to be able to successfully operate our small business in our hometown, while helping to foster an innovative food truck community Chicago. What would you do?

Royally Yours,

Greg & Kristin

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Where are the Food Truck Stands?

I still feel betrayed by the city I love.

I always thought hard work, perseverance, and dedication were the key to being successful at starting a small business. Taking this work ethic with us, my business partner & I started the Chicago Schnitzel King. Over the past year, our experience has proven that starting a small business in Chicago requires the work ethic previously listed.  Unfortunately, that work ethic can only carry food truck owners so far before the black cloud of Chicago’s political clout stops us in our tracks.

The new ordinance passed at the end of July allows for food trucks to cook on board, but why are food trucks still operating as they did before the ordinance passed? For starters, the new ordinance now requires mobile food trucks to be inspected by the fire department, which has a completely different set of regulations than the city. Yes, there is unarguably more time needed in order to build or buy a newly outfitted mobile food truck, but this alone shouldn’t prohibit new business from starting up around the city. Other aspects, such as the mandatory GPS requirement which went into effect yesterday, the 200 ft rule between food trucks and brick & mortar establishments, the absence of food truck stands, and the fines of up to $2,000 for breaking any of these rules, are the reason.

At the last city council meeting on July 25th, Alderman Reilly promised food truck owners that he would work with us to establish and set up food truck stands in high foot traffic areas in the loop, yet we have not heard high nor hare from him after the new ordinance passed. Moreover, on July 30th Alderman Reilly posted on his website that food trucks are now allowed to park at designated Food Truck Stands across the city. 

As a food truck owner, I am concerned that there are no food truck stands established yet, especially since they are promised to us in the new ordinance. The food truck stands were to be set up all around the city in places that prohibit food trucks to park due to their proximity to establishments that sell food (7-11 & Quick Marts included), which allows food trucks to have a presence in the downtown loop. So I ask the alderman of my city & hometown: Why the delay in giving food trucks what you promised, especially now that the GPS requirement is in effect? 

Yesterday, October 1st, is when food truck owners were expected to have a GPS unit installed on their vehicles. This data needs to be made available for the city to track. The fine for violating this new mandatory rule is up to $2,000, an amount that would put many food truck owners out of business. Now it feels like I need to wear an ankle bracelet just to conduct my small business operation. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Happy Chicago Food Truck Day!

As we are prepping da schnitzel to hit the road later for the King's midday feast, take a moment to check out what this day is all about! We hope to see you at 11am on Dearborn & Monroe, but if you are looking for a food truck near you check out Food Truck Freak or Chicago Food Truck Finder to locate other Chicago Food Trucks. Remember, the first 19 customers receive FREE FOOD tomorrow!! Make sure to get to the jeep early to lock in your FREE JULY HAM from Da King (while supplies last we'll give it away all day!).

Currently, Chicago is the only national city that does not allow cooking on board a mobile food vendor. The new ordinance the city proposed would allow us to cook & operate for 24 hours, however the 200ft distance rule between brick & mortars and food trucks would still apply, leaving little legal spots for the amount of trucks in the city. Additionally, the GPS surveillance and hefty fines ($1000-$2000) unfairly limit our freedom and have nothing to do with protecting the public. Check out the map below to view the current legal spots food trucks can park in the loop- the orange spots are illegal according to current & proposed legislation.

Chicago Vending Release 8-17-11

With a little help from our friend Food Truck Freak, the Chicago Food Trucks helped organized a petition to amend the current legislation and eliminate the food truck distance ban from brick and mortar restaurants. Consumers deserve the right to choose where we buy our food or when we dine out. Interestingly, in Los Angeles County where there is a thriving food truck community, the only restriction on food truck entails getting written permission from a facility with a public washroom if you stay in a certain spot for a particular amount of time. In 2009, LA Country tried to pass a one-hour duration restriction after restaurants complained about taco trucks eating into their business but the law was later struck down in state court (LA food trucks). If LA can have a thriving food truck community (thousands of trucks!) & restaurants harmoniously operating side by side, why can't Chicago?

Are you ready to take action? If you've already signed the petition then you're half way there! Visit the Institute for Justice's website & start emailing, tweeting, & calling your local alderman. Tell the City Council that they should treat all Chicagoans with business dreams equally, and allow Chicago’s creative chefs to start small and grow big!

Remember, we couldn't do this without you, so thanks for all that you do!! Now go n' get your food truck on!

Royally yours,

Monday, July 9, 2012

Let Freedom Roll!

Join us for the first Chicago Food Truck Day this Thursday, July 12th! Starting at 11:30am local food trucks (including yours truly) are giving away FREE FOOD TRUCK FOOD to the first 19 customers! Why just 19, you ask? The number 19 signifies the day that the new food truck ordinance is discussed at a city hall public hearing. Your schnitzel will be waiting at Dearborn & Monroe on the 12th, but you can follow all the Chicago food trucks on Food Truck Freak or Chicago Food Truck Finder  to track em down! We need YOU to call, email, & tweet to local alderman- stop by our truck to help show your support during lunch! Even just one tweet or email can make a huge difference!

Then, on the evening of July 12th from 6-8pm come join Chicago food trucks for dinner as we gather the Food Truck Community together at Fischman Liquors (4780 N Milwaukee Ave). Not only will you get to eat from your favorite Chicago food trucks, but you get the chance to voice your concern regarding the new food truck ordinance as well. We need your help & support to rally together to fight against laws that are protectionist & unconstitutional (see 200ft rule re: parking for mobile food vendors) and give food trucks the freedom they deserve!

So to recap the important dates-
Thursday, July 12th CHICAGO FOOD TRUCK DAY: 11:30am across Chicago (Dearborn & Monroe for Da King); 6pm-9pm Fischman Liquors Food Truck Rally
Thursday, July 19th Public Hearing for Food Truck Ordinance: 11am Chicago City Hall

Want to do something now? Tweet/facebook the following to help spread the word:
"Don’t treat food trucks like second-class businesses. Cut the 200ft rule, and let customers have a choice. Let freedom roll! "

Royally Yours,

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Happy Memorial Day from Da King!

Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend!! We are back in action today (Tuesday, May 29) with our full menu + some new additions! Make sure to follow Da King on twitter to find out what we're rollin out this week! Check out a picture of the new cold smoked ribs we rolled out last week [DROOL]:

Tuesday- Lunch 11:30am Jefferson & Jackson
Wednesday- Lunch 11am U of C/Hyde Park 58th & Ellis; Dinner 6pm at Koval Distillery (121 N Ravenswood Ave)
Thursday- 11am Dearborn & Monroe/Chase Plaza
Friday- 11am U of C/Hyde Park 58th & Ellis; Dinner 6pm at Fischman's Liquors KEGS FOR KIDNEYS
Saturday- 3pm-9pm Newberry Acadamy Fundraiser North/Halsted

See you on the road!

Royally Yours,

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Check us out in Gilt City!

The King is proud to call himself a Gilt City Featured Venue! Be the first of your friends to land a sweet voucher for a meal with the King, saving you precious moolah to spend on other fun stuff.

Vouchers just went on sale today, Wednesday, April 25th at noon. To make sure you get one before they sell out, become a Gilt City member now at It's free, and best of all saves you money at your favorite places in the city! 

After you become a member check the Gilt City Insiders: Amanda Puck Series featuring the King's friend & The Foodarazzi Amanda Puck! This series showcases offers for Amanda's favorite places in Chicago! If you call yourself a foodie and live in Chicago then it behooves you check it out.
See you on the streets!

Royally Yours, 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

"You gotta fight for your right to food truck!"

After attending the My Streets My Eats: Chicago Mobile Food Symposium & Meet Up, hosted by the University of Chicago Law School’s Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship, it was evident that we must do a better job of advocating and associating for the progressive movement of street food in Chicago. We were reminded at the symposium that the 14th Amendment prevents the government from arbitrarily interfering with our ability to earn an honest living in our chosen occupations. Bert Gall (seen below far left), the Patron Saint of Food Trucks and senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, said yesterday, “It is your constitutional right to have economic opportunity and to not have it covered up by protectionist restrictions” (aka the vague and elusive city of Chicago ordinance). 

photo by Institute for Justice

Why won’t the City of Chicago allow food trucks a fair shot in the marketplace? It is well known that the restaurants in Chicago who are against food trucks use their lobbies when they feel threatened, as evident by the harsh parking restrictions in the current food truck ordinance. Currently, the ordinance says a food truck must be at least 200 ft. away from a “restaurant”, which coincidentally leave less than enough legal spots for all the current food trucks to park in the city (check out the map). New ordinances with less restrictive regulations have been proposed, but the aldermen cannot come to an amicable solution that would keep the restaurants happy while also allowing food trucks to fairly operate on the streets.

It’s not like we are asking to be millionaires, just a fair shot at making an honest living! But that seems impossible for trucks to do when the current ordinance makes it difficult to operate and the city aldermen are extremely sensitive to the needs of established brick and mortars. Elizabeth Kregor, Director of the IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship, stated in an open letter to Chicago Alderman last August, “More fundamentally, it is unfair favoritism to squelch the mobile food businesses to protect the brick-and-mortar restaurants. Citizens of Chicago have a constitutional right to equal protection: the city may not give special protection to one group of business owners.

When the businesses of El Paso, Texas food truckers Yvonne Castaneda, Maria Robledo, Martha Avila, and Michelle Garcia suffered because of their city’s unfair regulations on food trucks, they filed a federal lawsuit against the city of El Paso challenging the constitutionality of its economic protectionism. They fought for their right to keep vending on the streets of El Paso, represented by none other than the Institute for Justice . In response to the lawsuit, El Paso City officials passed a new ordinance eliminating the protectionist regulations against mobile food vendors, which was a major victory for food trucks and for economic liberty (Read more about the case).

Together, we can help the food truck scene thrive in Chicago and correspondingly create economic opportunity for entrepreneurs. We need to keep on disproving negative connotations and misconceptions that currently exist about food trucks, but this starts at the grassroots level. Rumor has it that the new mobile food ordinance will be put in front of Mayor Emmanuel soon, possibly as soon as this week.  If you support Chicago food trucks, economic opportunity, and constitutionality, now is the time to talk to your local alderman.  

photo by Institute for Justice

You gotta fight for your right to food truck!

Royally yours,

Visit to learn more about your right to eat.

Visis to learn more about the My Streets My Eats Campaign.

John Arena
Michael D. Chandler

Willie Cochran
Rey Colon
Timothy Cullerton

Jason Ervin
Toni Foulkes
Leslie Hairston 
Sandi Jackson
Lona Lane
Roberto Maldonado

Emma Mitts
Proco Joe Moreno
Ameya Pawar
Michelle Smith
Thomas Tunne
Michael Zalewski
James Cappleman
George A. Cardenas
Thomas Tunney
Bob Fioretti
Deborah Graham

Mary O’Connor
Matthew O’Shea

Marty Quinn

Ariel Reboyras
Roderick Sawyer
Debra Silverstein
Nicholas Sposato