Long Grove approves food truck pilot program at brewery
Food trucks will be allowed to operate outside Buffalo Creek Brewing in Long Grove, under a pilot program approved this week by the village board.
Buffalo Creek owner Michael Marr said the food trucks should be good for his business and generate some extra revenue for the village. The Historical Lane brewery and tap room, which doesn't have a kitchen, has had restaurants serving food from temporary tables outside as pop-up operations since it opened a year ago, he said.
"From a sales tax perspective, when we have a pop-up in place, we see our sales dramatically increase because we don't have that revenue that's being lost, where people are going to a restaurant somewhere," Marr said.
The food trucks must register with the village and be associated with a specific venue. Village Attorney Victor Filippini said the trucks will be obligated to pay sales taxes to Long Grove from the day's receipts.
The village board can decide if the food trucks should be allowed elsewhere after reviewing how they are working at Buffalo Creek.
"We know we have at least one venue where it would be a real asset," Filippini said, "and if we find that it's working there and it might have some value elsewhere, we can always expand it."
Trustee Michael Sarlitto said members of the village's advisory economic development commission supported the food truck idea.
"I think that main thing here is, (Buffalo Creek has) got a demand signal for food and it keeps people here longer and they're spending more," Sarlitto said.
Marr, who also is chairman of the Downtown Long Grove Business Association's executive committee, said some restaurants don't support having food trucks in the village. However, he said, there are other businesses in town that could benefit from the trucks, such as Broken Earth Winery.
Good food trucks are known for having followers at local brewery appearances, Marr said, citing as an example Algonquin-based Pierogi Jo's truck.
"People have pierogi-eating contests," he said.
Trustee Rita O'Connor said the food trucks should be a draw for Buffalo Creek.
"I think the appeal is, it's something different," O'Connor said. "It's not Chipotle. It's not Panera. It's not MOD Pizza. It's something different. And I think that's why you see a following."