Food trucks cook on board for 1st time

February 5, 2013 3:34:40 PM PST
The first food truck allowed to cook on site is now serving lunch on the streets of Chicago.

We are seeing more food trucks in Chicago. So far this year, there are three new ones. But a fourth truck that started operating Tuesday got a lot of attention.

The long line was a sign of two things - social media buzz attracted a lunchtime crowd to a new food truck, and the other reason for the line - each order is actually cooked on the truck, so it takes a bit longer.

"I'm freezing, tired of waiting, but I'm still hungry, so I'm gonna stick it out," said Gina Grandinetti.

It's the first day for The Salsa Truck.

"Now that we can heat treat things and bring on new equipment," said Dan Salls, The Salsa Truck. "In terms of Chicago, we're on the cutting edge."

The Salsa Truck may need to work out a few kinks in operation, but customers seem willing to cut them some slack. After all, it's the first truck in Chicago to be issued a license as a mobile food preparer.

"I think it definitely... makes a difference to me," said Patrick Clough.

"We here in this building are in a restaurant wasteland, so this is very, very good for us," said Jennifer Hale.

Truck operators successfully lobbied the city to allow food preparation on board. While city made this new license available, some operators say adhering to the city's requirements may be financially challenging.

"With the ovens, refrigerators, everything can stay at temperature, so I don't know how much you're actually going to gain with all the money that's involved with putting a truck together," said Mike Heler, Beyond Borders.

Joe Scroggs said he doesn't plan to retrofit his truck The Roost. But he says if they add a second truck, they will apply for the new license.

"This is the direction it's going in, to have cooking trucks, and it's always good to have new trucks on the road," said Scroggs.

The city's spokeswoman for the Department of Business Affairs says they are assessing two other food trucks to see if they can be retrofitted to cook onboard.