While the fannypack set will be trucking through Grant Park this week, turkey legs and fried dough in hand, another high-octane food-sampler gathering will be revving up in the West Loop, with the debut of Ethyl’s Truckin’ Thursdays.
Ethyl’s Beer & Wine Dive, Scott Harris’ (Francesca’s) latest dining concept, will become a food truck city, a safe haven for Chicago’s gourmet meals on wheels when its spacious parking lot and patio will function as the campgrounds for seven food trucks every Thursday from 6pm-9pm. Ethyl’s founding partner Donnie Kruse thinks this is a big move for a city that has been slow to welcome the trucks to its streets.
“Food trucks are kind of a controversial thing in Chicago, however, they’re a big story. The Food Network had a show, ‘The Great Food Truck Race,’ and I spend a lot of time in Austin, Texas, Portland, Seattle and think they’re a wonderful part of the food community,” says Kruse.
“We have a unique space here and we want to do a lot of unique things with it, and one of the things was food trucks in Chicago, they haven’t been embraced by the city. If you look at Scott Harris and Luigi [Negroni, another Ethyl’s partner], they’re at the forefront of new concepts and ideas, so we thought we could work together with the food trucks, and it’ll be beneficial to both of us.”
Negroni, Kruse says, is “very tight” with Matt Maroni who runs the Chicago Food Trucks association, so this collection of friends and urban food entrepreneurs have high hopes that these weekly gatherings will popularize both Ethyl’s and food trucks in the city.
“We want people to sample and embrace the food truck revolution, so they’re doing $5 tasting portions so you can go to three or four trucks and kind of get a good feel of what’s here” says Kruse. (Giovanni Wrobel)
Truckin’ Thursdays debuts at Ethyl’s, 324 South Racine, from 6pm-9pm on June 30 with the following trucks: Gaztro-wagon, Southern Mac, Meatyballs Mobile, 5411 Empanadas, Haute Sausage, Flirty Cupcakes and Sweet Ride.