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Article posted: 5/22/2013 12:01 AM

Naperville extends 2 mobile food vendors through year's end

Naperville extends two of four permits

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Whether your late-night cravings include hot dogs and brats or ribs and pulled pork, you'll be able to satisfy them downtown at least through the end of the year.

On Tuesday, Naperville City Council members extended the mobile vending permits for John's Rib House and Joey's Red Hots through the end of the year. Both were set to expire July 31. Two other permits, which have not been utilized, will expire July 31 as scheduled.

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Council members also suspended the bidding process for the next season while city employees review the policy and consider restructuring or eliminating it.

The compromise to extend the permits was born from a recent Downtown Advisory Commission meeting in which some members supported ending the downtown vending program altogether for fear the program was hurting brick and mortar establishments.

Vendors operate from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily and from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. during weeknights. They serve until 2:30 a.m. on the weekends.

Councilwoman Judith Brodhead, who sits on the commission, said the program "has its supporters and its detractors." She and Councilman Joe McElroy, who also serves on the commission, supported extending the program through the year.

John Singleton, owner of John's Rib House, called his tenure downtown an "amazing ride" and pleaded with council members to keep the program going.

"This is something new, and I don't think we should give up on it," he said. "Let's work out the kinks and give this program a chance to thrive."

Councilman Steve Chirico said the best chance for the program to thrive is for council to distance itself.

"This has been one of the most talked about small items we've come back to since I've been on council," he said. "We need to get out of the way and let these guys sell hot dogs or pulled pork sandwiches. Let's move on."

Councilman Paul Hinterlong took it a step further and suggested removing the location restrictions placed on the vendors.

"We're being too stringent on what we're trying to do," Hinterlong said. "Let's allow these guys to go head to head in front of the parking garage. You either want ribs or a hot dog. Let's go."

Staff will reevaluate the program throughout the remainder of the year and present council with a recommendation by Dec. 31.

Vendors: City council agrees to extend permits through the year

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