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Food Trucks Make Their Mark in Chicago

Food Trucks Make Their Mark in Chicago

As food trucks continue to grow in number and prosper across the U.S., mobile eateries in Chicago are fighting for their rights to exist. Chicago legislature prohibits owners of food trucks from cooking (or altering their food in any way) while they're in their trucks, which has led food truck chefs to sell only pre-made items. The food truck community in Chicago is banding together to bring about the legalization of their businesses.

Tomorrow, the first Chicago food truck summit will take place at Goose Island Brewery. The event will feature signature dishes from trucks such as Flirty Cupcakes, Sweet Miss Giving's, and 5411 Empanadas. It will also serve as a release party for author Heather Shouse's book, Food Trucks: Dispatches and Stories from the Best Kitchens on Wheels.

The Daily Byte is a regular column dedicated to covering interesting food news and trends across the country. Click here for previous columns.


Food truck millionaires who beat the odds

When brothers Pete and Ben Van Leeuwen and Laura O'Neill decided to try out making ice cream in their Brooklyn apartment a decade ago, their idea was simple: Reinvent the ice-cream truck with great tasting ingredients. The only problem was, they had no experience in actually making the product.

"We have never made ice cream before," Ben, 33, said. "So we got a bunch of cookbooks and started cooking."

Using fair trade high-end ingredients, many of them organic, they got to work and developed artisanal flavors that today include Honeycomb, Sicilian Pistachio and Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip. The trio hit the streets of New York City with $50,000 in investment from friends and family with their Van Leeuwen Ice Cream truck, a retrofitted post office vehicle. The Financial District and Canal Street proved to be a bust, so they rolled into Soho, hoping for some luck.

"By the time we opened the window, there was a line of 30 people," Ben said. "And the line remained there all summer."

Those lines have been growing far beyond Soho ever since. Year one, in 2008, they did about $400,000 in revenue, jumping up past $1 million in year two. Fast-forward to today, they have nine stores across New York City and Los Angeles and six trucks, set to do some $20 million in revenue in 2018 without ever taking another dime of outside investment. They're also retailing in Whole Foods stores in the Northeast and California.


Food truck millionaires who beat the odds

When brothers Pete and Ben Van Leeuwen and Laura O'Neill decided to try out making ice cream in their Brooklyn apartment a decade ago, their idea was simple: Reinvent the ice-cream truck with great tasting ingredients. The only problem was, they had no experience in actually making the product.

"We have never made ice cream before," Ben, 33, said. "So we got a bunch of cookbooks and started cooking."

Using fair trade high-end ingredients, many of them organic, they got to work and developed artisanal flavors that today include Honeycomb, Sicilian Pistachio and Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip. The trio hit the streets of New York City with $50,000 in investment from friends and family with their Van Leeuwen Ice Cream truck, a retrofitted post office vehicle. The Financial District and Canal Street proved to be a bust, so they rolled into Soho, hoping for some luck.

"By the time we opened the window, there was a line of 30 people," Ben said. "And the line remained there all summer."

Those lines have been growing far beyond Soho ever since. Year one, in 2008, they did about $400,000 in revenue, jumping up past $1 million in year two. Fast-forward to today, they have nine stores across New York City and Los Angeles and six trucks, set to do some $20 million in revenue in 2018 without ever taking another dime of outside investment. They're also retailing in Whole Foods stores in the Northeast and California.


Food truck millionaires who beat the odds

When brothers Pete and Ben Van Leeuwen and Laura O'Neill decided to try out making ice cream in their Brooklyn apartment a decade ago, their idea was simple: Reinvent the ice-cream truck with great tasting ingredients. The only problem was, they had no experience in actually making the product.

"We have never made ice cream before," Ben, 33, said. "So we got a bunch of cookbooks and started cooking."

Using fair trade high-end ingredients, many of them organic, they got to work and developed artisanal flavors that today include Honeycomb, Sicilian Pistachio and Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip. The trio hit the streets of New York City with $50,000 in investment from friends and family with their Van Leeuwen Ice Cream truck, a retrofitted post office vehicle. The Financial District and Canal Street proved to be a bust, so they rolled into Soho, hoping for some luck.

"By the time we opened the window, there was a line of 30 people," Ben said. "And the line remained there all summer."

Those lines have been growing far beyond Soho ever since. Year one, in 2008, they did about $400,000 in revenue, jumping up past $1 million in year two. Fast-forward to today, they have nine stores across New York City and Los Angeles and six trucks, set to do some $20 million in revenue in 2018 without ever taking another dime of outside investment. They're also retailing in Whole Foods stores in the Northeast and California.


Food truck millionaires who beat the odds

When brothers Pete and Ben Van Leeuwen and Laura O'Neill decided to try out making ice cream in their Brooklyn apartment a decade ago, their idea was simple: Reinvent the ice-cream truck with great tasting ingredients. The only problem was, they had no experience in actually making the product.

"We have never made ice cream before," Ben, 33, said. "So we got a bunch of cookbooks and started cooking."

Using fair trade high-end ingredients, many of them organic, they got to work and developed artisanal flavors that today include Honeycomb, Sicilian Pistachio and Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip. The trio hit the streets of New York City with $50,000 in investment from friends and family with their Van Leeuwen Ice Cream truck, a retrofitted post office vehicle. The Financial District and Canal Street proved to be a bust, so they rolled into Soho, hoping for some luck.

"By the time we opened the window, there was a line of 30 people," Ben said. "And the line remained there all summer."

Those lines have been growing far beyond Soho ever since. Year one, in 2008, they did about $400,000 in revenue, jumping up past $1 million in year two. Fast-forward to today, they have nine stores across New York City and Los Angeles and six trucks, set to do some $20 million in revenue in 2018 without ever taking another dime of outside investment. They're also retailing in Whole Foods stores in the Northeast and California.


Food truck millionaires who beat the odds

When brothers Pete and Ben Van Leeuwen and Laura O'Neill decided to try out making ice cream in their Brooklyn apartment a decade ago, their idea was simple: Reinvent the ice-cream truck with great tasting ingredients. The only problem was, they had no experience in actually making the product.

"We have never made ice cream before," Ben, 33, said. "So we got a bunch of cookbooks and started cooking."

Using fair trade high-end ingredients, many of them organic, they got to work and developed artisanal flavors that today include Honeycomb, Sicilian Pistachio and Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip. The trio hit the streets of New York City with $50,000 in investment from friends and family with their Van Leeuwen Ice Cream truck, a retrofitted post office vehicle. The Financial District and Canal Street proved to be a bust, so they rolled into Soho, hoping for some luck.

"By the time we opened the window, there was a line of 30 people," Ben said. "And the line remained there all summer."

Those lines have been growing far beyond Soho ever since. Year one, in 2008, they did about $400,000 in revenue, jumping up past $1 million in year two. Fast-forward to today, they have nine stores across New York City and Los Angeles and six trucks, set to do some $20 million in revenue in 2018 without ever taking another dime of outside investment. They're also retailing in Whole Foods stores in the Northeast and California.


Food truck millionaires who beat the odds

When brothers Pete and Ben Van Leeuwen and Laura O'Neill decided to try out making ice cream in their Brooklyn apartment a decade ago, their idea was simple: Reinvent the ice-cream truck with great tasting ingredients. The only problem was, they had no experience in actually making the product.

"We have never made ice cream before," Ben, 33, said. "So we got a bunch of cookbooks and started cooking."

Using fair trade high-end ingredients, many of them organic, they got to work and developed artisanal flavors that today include Honeycomb, Sicilian Pistachio and Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip. The trio hit the streets of New York City with $50,000 in investment from friends and family with their Van Leeuwen Ice Cream truck, a retrofitted post office vehicle. The Financial District and Canal Street proved to be a bust, so they rolled into Soho, hoping for some luck.

"By the time we opened the window, there was a line of 30 people," Ben said. "And the line remained there all summer."

Those lines have been growing far beyond Soho ever since. Year one, in 2008, they did about $400,000 in revenue, jumping up past $1 million in year two. Fast-forward to today, they have nine stores across New York City and Los Angeles and six trucks, set to do some $20 million in revenue in 2018 without ever taking another dime of outside investment. They're also retailing in Whole Foods stores in the Northeast and California.


Food truck millionaires who beat the odds

When brothers Pete and Ben Van Leeuwen and Laura O'Neill decided to try out making ice cream in their Brooklyn apartment a decade ago, their idea was simple: Reinvent the ice-cream truck with great tasting ingredients. The only problem was, they had no experience in actually making the product.

"We have never made ice cream before," Ben, 33, said. "So we got a bunch of cookbooks and started cooking."

Using fair trade high-end ingredients, many of them organic, they got to work and developed artisanal flavors that today include Honeycomb, Sicilian Pistachio and Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip. The trio hit the streets of New York City with $50,000 in investment from friends and family with their Van Leeuwen Ice Cream truck, a retrofitted post office vehicle. The Financial District and Canal Street proved to be a bust, so they rolled into Soho, hoping for some luck.

"By the time we opened the window, there was a line of 30 people," Ben said. "And the line remained there all summer."

Those lines have been growing far beyond Soho ever since. Year one, in 2008, they did about $400,000 in revenue, jumping up past $1 million in year two. Fast-forward to today, they have nine stores across New York City and Los Angeles and six trucks, set to do some $20 million in revenue in 2018 without ever taking another dime of outside investment. They're also retailing in Whole Foods stores in the Northeast and California.


Food truck millionaires who beat the odds

When brothers Pete and Ben Van Leeuwen and Laura O'Neill decided to try out making ice cream in their Brooklyn apartment a decade ago, their idea was simple: Reinvent the ice-cream truck with great tasting ingredients. The only problem was, they had no experience in actually making the product.

"We have never made ice cream before," Ben, 33, said. "So we got a bunch of cookbooks and started cooking."

Using fair trade high-end ingredients, many of them organic, they got to work and developed artisanal flavors that today include Honeycomb, Sicilian Pistachio and Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip. The trio hit the streets of New York City with $50,000 in investment from friends and family with their Van Leeuwen Ice Cream truck, a retrofitted post office vehicle. The Financial District and Canal Street proved to be a bust, so they rolled into Soho, hoping for some luck.

"By the time we opened the window, there was a line of 30 people," Ben said. "And the line remained there all summer."

Those lines have been growing far beyond Soho ever since. Year one, in 2008, they did about $400,000 in revenue, jumping up past $1 million in year two. Fast-forward to today, they have nine stores across New York City and Los Angeles and six trucks, set to do some $20 million in revenue in 2018 without ever taking another dime of outside investment. They're also retailing in Whole Foods stores in the Northeast and California.


Food truck millionaires who beat the odds

When brothers Pete and Ben Van Leeuwen and Laura O'Neill decided to try out making ice cream in their Brooklyn apartment a decade ago, their idea was simple: Reinvent the ice-cream truck with great tasting ingredients. The only problem was, they had no experience in actually making the product.

"We have never made ice cream before," Ben, 33, said. "So we got a bunch of cookbooks and started cooking."

Using fair trade high-end ingredients, many of them organic, they got to work and developed artisanal flavors that today include Honeycomb, Sicilian Pistachio and Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip. The trio hit the streets of New York City with $50,000 in investment from friends and family with their Van Leeuwen Ice Cream truck, a retrofitted post office vehicle. The Financial District and Canal Street proved to be a bust, so they rolled into Soho, hoping for some luck.

"By the time we opened the window, there was a line of 30 people," Ben said. "And the line remained there all summer."

Those lines have been growing far beyond Soho ever since. Year one, in 2008, they did about $400,000 in revenue, jumping up past $1 million in year two. Fast-forward to today, they have nine stores across New York City and Los Angeles and six trucks, set to do some $20 million in revenue in 2018 without ever taking another dime of outside investment. They're also retailing in Whole Foods stores in the Northeast and California.


Food truck millionaires who beat the odds

When brothers Pete and Ben Van Leeuwen and Laura O'Neill decided to try out making ice cream in their Brooklyn apartment a decade ago, their idea was simple: Reinvent the ice-cream truck with great tasting ingredients. The only problem was, they had no experience in actually making the product.

"We have never made ice cream before," Ben, 33, said. "So we got a bunch of cookbooks and started cooking."

Using fair trade high-end ingredients, many of them organic, they got to work and developed artisanal flavors that today include Honeycomb, Sicilian Pistachio and Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip. The trio hit the streets of New York City with $50,000 in investment from friends and family with their Van Leeuwen Ice Cream truck, a retrofitted post office vehicle. The Financial District and Canal Street proved to be a bust, so they rolled into Soho, hoping for some luck.

"By the time we opened the window, there was a line of 30 people," Ben said. "And the line remained there all summer."

Those lines have been growing far beyond Soho ever since. Year one, in 2008, they did about $400,000 in revenue, jumping up past $1 million in year two. Fast-forward to today, they have nine stores across New York City and Los Angeles and six trucks, set to do some $20 million in revenue in 2018 without ever taking another dime of outside investment. They're also retailing in Whole Foods stores in the Northeast and California.


Watch the video: Chicagos Best Food Trucks: Bop Bar Truck (January 2022).