Chicago food truck sues City of Evanston

August 7, 2012

Jewell Washington

(Jewell Washington)
Gabriel Wiesen, owner of Beavers Donuts, filed a lawsuit against the city of Evanston on Tuesday that prohibits food truck owners from setting up shop unless they also own a brick and mortar restaurant.

Owners of a local Chicago food truck are filing a lawsuit against the city of Evanston, accusing the city of discriminating against their business.

An Evanston ordinance prohibits food truck owners from setting up shop unless they also own a brick and mortar restaurant.

Gabriel Wiesen and James Nuccio own the food truck Beavers Coffee and Donuts. Wiesen said the rule is unconstitutional.

“It’s also unjust to really try and attack a small business owner this way when we’re not a viable threat to anyone here in Evanston,” he said, “we have a tremendous amount of people that want us to come particularly around  [Northwestern] university and we are forced not to do so because of this law.”

Wiesen added that his food truck doesn’t directly compete with other Evanston businesses.

But Ben Jasmer, a day manager at the downtown coffee shop Kafein, said shops like his should stick together.

“It’s sort of like a family…you protect the interests of your family before a stranger comes in and maybe inflicts harm - monetary harm,” he said.

“The Illinois Constitution guarantees equal protection and due process under the law,” said Jacob Hueber, Associate Counsel at the Liberty Justice Center, who represents the food truck owners. “But Evanston isn’t treating people equally. The city is giving restaurant owners a special right that it won’t give to everyone else, for no legitimate reason.”

The city of Evanston said, in an emailed statement, that they will aggressively defend the city's ordinance in relation to the complaint.