Cloud Kitchens in Horner Park angers neighborhood with traffic congestion

John Garcia Image
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
NW Side residents complain of traffic congestion from ghost kitchen
Residents of the neighborhood said Cloud Kitchen's stream of traffic is far more than an inconvenience; it's a safety hazard.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There are growing complaints about a Northwest Side ghost kitchen from neighborhood residents and businesses who say the traffic congestion has become a safety hazard.

Cloud Kitchens is a take-out kitchen that prepares food for more than a dozen popular restaurants, including Chick-Fil-A.

During lunchtime neighbors estimate that between 70 and 100 cars an hour come to pick up orders. There are also customers from other businesses on Rockwell and residents who live on the street.

"This isn't just a frustration of double parking," said Kristi Noona, neighbor. "This is a legitimate safety issue that needs to be fixed or something bad's gonna happen."

Cloud Kitchens has hired traffic aides to help direct vehicles through the congested area. Even during non-rush times parking is at a premium in the neighborhood, but at lunch and dinner times it's non-existent.

That makes a challenge for customers bringing pets to the veterinary clinic next door.

"Most of clients are like 'I might need to go somewhere else,' which is scary for our business that's been around for a very long time," said Derrick Landini, Heal Veterinary Clinic.

Cloud Kitchens has five locations around the city. They house numerous, mostly small restaurant kitchens which sell pick-up and deliver orders. And they've been busy. But 47th Ward Ald. Matt Martin said his office has gotten more than 60 complaints about the traffic from neighbors in recent months.

"In short, this area was not designed to accommodate Cloud Kitchens' business model," Martin said.

The manager said Cloud Kitchens has tried to be a good neighbor, but the block is zoned for industrial use not the residential homes that take up the north end of the street.

"We've gone above and beyond to be good neighbors and continue to do so. But we're also gonna continue to support the small business owners in our buildings," said Deidra Suber, Cloud Kitchens.

Cloud Kitchens, neighbors and the city continue to look for solutions.