Food truck with donuts, coffee fights to operate in Evanston

Olivia Zapater-Charrette, Reporter

A new food truck may soon be operating near campus, as Beavers Coffee and Donuts looks to expand to Evanston.

Beavers Coffee and Donuts is a food truck currently operating in Chicago that serves gourmet donuts and freshly brewed coffee, said co-owner Gabriel Wiesen. The business plans to set up a full-time post near Northwestern soon and stay until December.

They began in 2011 with one truck and two operators and have expanded over the years, Wiesen said. They now have five trucks, two brick-and-mortar locations and about 30 employees.

In 2012, Wiesen and Jim Nuccio, co-owners of Beavers Coffee and Donuts, attempted to get a food truck license to operate in Evanston and were denied because they didn’t have a brick-and-mortar establishment, a prerequisite for obtaining the license.

This June, Evanston changed its laws to allow food trucks without a brick-and-mortar establishment to operate in the city. Although Beavers Coffee and Donuts has yet to get their food truck permit in Evanston, they are a step closer with the new law.

Jacob Huebert, the company’s attorney in the lawsuit, said he was pleased to see Evanston change the provision.

“The more experience that people have with food trucks, the more they recognize that there’s no good reason to restrict them,” Huebert said.

The former Evanston ordinance existed only to benefit established restaurants in Evanston at the expense of other businesses, Huebert said. Nuccio and Wiesen filed a lawsuit against the city on the grounds that the law was unconstitutional, as it wasn’t designed to serve any public health or safety issue.

“The only time you really see discrimination against food trucks is where the restaurant industry has influence over the law,” Huebert said.

Wiesen said he believes the former law was put in place to protect a larger private interest group from small businesses, such as food trucks.

The new law states a food truck can operate in the city as long as they are not within 100 feet of a restaurant or 500 feet of a school. Wiesen said they have not decided where they will set up shop in Evanston.

Annie Coakley, executive director of Downtown Evanston, said that she feels Evanston residents will continue to go to established Evanston restaurants over going to food trucks for meals.

“I don’t see the sustainability of a food truck craze being past 10 years or even 5 years for that matter,” Coakley said.

While Coakley thinks the business is already on the decline, Wiesen was quick to point out the food truck business is thriving in major cities.

“How is it that a bureaucrat can sit somewhere and say that someone should not eat this sandwich versus this one simply because this person is a larger business that chose to be in that format,” Wiesen said. “It’s completely ridiculous.”