Legalize Street Food


IJ is fighting on behalf of street vendors across the country to vindicate their constitutional right to earn an honest living free from arbitrary government regulations.

Cities can and should allow vending to thrive by writing clear and simple regulations tailored to address real health and safety issues—not the concerns of brick-and-mortars worried about new competition.  By allowing vendors to compete in the marketplace, local governments can expand economic opportunity and cultural vibrancy in America’s cities.

Want to join the fight to legalize vending?  Email Lancee at

Want a FREE “Legalize Street Food” sticker for your food truck or cart?  Email Make sure to include whether you'd like a slate gray or sangria colored decal.



New Orleans, LA




Download: Streets of Dreams: How Cities Can Create Economic Opportunity by Knocking Down Protectionist Barriers to Street Vending


The food truck revolution is sweeping the nation, but street food entrepreneurs in the Crescent City are facing onerous, out-of-date, and anti-competitive laws that make it nearly impossible to thrive.  It’s time city council revise these laws to help support the growth and success of food trucks and other mobile vendors, create economic opportunity and continue to build a vibrant local culinary scene.


Join entrepreneurs, advocates and foodies on July 24 to learn more about how mobile food businesses build communities, the need to reform the city’s laws, and what you can do to help the food trucks roll in New Orleans.




Food trucks will serve dinner after the symposium. The first 100 attendees through the door will receive a voucher good towards purchases at participating food trucks. Good Work Network will also be present to connect with anyone interested in breaking into the mobile food business.


Featured food trucks:


Taceaux loceaux
la cocinita
Ms. linda “the yakamein lady”
Rue Chow
Foodie Call
Nola Foods
Ye Olde Kettle Cooker


Hosted by the Institute for JusticeNeighborland New Orleans Food Truck CoalitionGood Work NetworkAshé Cultural Arts CenterSouthern Food and Beverage Museum and the Oretha Castle Haley Merchants & Business Association.


To learn more about how cities can create economic opportunity by knocking down protectionist barriers to street vending, read IJ's Streets of Dreams.



Chicago rolls out My Streets, My Eats

My Streets, My Eats is a grassroots campaign to spread the word about the legal restrictions Chicago places on mobile chefs and to advocate for reform.  Currently, Chicago’s laws say no to mobile chefs over and over again: no preparation of food on a truck or cart, no serving customers before 10 am, no stopping within 200 feet of a restaurant.  My Streets! My Eats! aims to mobilize Chicagoans to urge City Council to say yes to mobile chefs by repealing these restrictions.  Chicago should let entrepreneurs figure out what customers want and serve it up fresh and hot!

You can join the My Streets, My Eats campaign.  City Council is sitting on a proposed law that would allow food preparation from mobile food vehicles: urge the Committee on License and Consumer Protection to hold a hearing on the law.  But that proposal doesn’t go far enough.  It would still place confusing and anti-competitive restrictions on mobile food businesses, requiring them to stay away from other food establishments.  That translates into staying out of busy business districts, where customers are likely to be.  Check out our map of the Loop, which shows how crippling the law would be.

To see more from My Streets, My Eats click

Click to view more photos from the My Streets, 
My Eats Mobile Food Symposium. 

My Streets My Eats Mobile Food Symposium is a huge hit!

My Streets, My Eats: Chicago Mobile Food Symposium and Meet Up was a huge success! Thanks to the hundreds of Chicagoans who came to show their support for legalizing street food in Chicago. Almost all of the 18 food trucks sold out at the meet up, and were energized by the friendly, supportive environment where they could chat with fellow entrepreneurs and show off their delicious food.

See photos from the event here or click the photo to the right.

Thanks to the panelists and food trucks below who made this an event to remember!


Click to download the full, hi-res 11x17 flyer


Baylen Linnekin, Keep Food Legal
Gabriel Wiesen, Beaver’s Coffee & Donuts Truck
Gregg Kettles, Los Angeles Mayor’s Office
Heather Shouse, Timeout Chicago
Dr. John Gaber, University of Arkansas
Justin Large, Big Star
Samm Petrichos, Spice!
Sean Basinski, NY Street Vendor Project 
Vicki Lugo, Asociación de Vendedores Ambulantes

Food Trucks:





The downtown area of St. Petersburg, Fla., is currently a “no vending zone.”  Recently, the city council has decided to open up its downtown to food trucks, but the council is faced with one problem: the disapproval of downtown restaurants.  Because of the pressure from the Chamber of Commerce, St. Petersburg is considering a law that prohibits food trucks to vend within up to 500 feet from a restaurant.

In response, IJ has helped the food vendors of St. Petersburg to organize and to get their message out there: It’s not the government’s place to enact laws to protect brick-and-mortar businesses from competition.  With IJ’s help, the food vendors of St. Petersburg and surrounding areas are fighting back against government protectionism.


Read The Daily Caller article on the matter:





Download: Streets of Dreams: How Cities Can Create Economic Opportunity by Knocking Down Protectionist Barriers to Street Vending


IJ releases statement on behalf of DC food trucks.

Will the District of Columbia fully embrace the food truck revolution, or will it empower brick-and-mortar restaurants to run mobile vendors out of town?

That is the question confronting city officials as they consider new regulations for the District’s mobile food businesses.  Today the Institute for Justice (IJ) and its National Street Vending Initiative sent the D.C. government its views about the proposed regulations.  Although the proposed regulations represent a significant improvement in the legal landscape for mobile food entrepreneurs, IJ noted three specific concerns that the government should correct before final passage.

Download the Institute for Justice’s comments in PDF form






Food trucks have hit the streets of Buffalo, NY. But a few brick-and-mortar restaurants tried to put them out of business through the force of government. Meet three of Buffalo's popular food truck owners: Pete Cimino of Lloyd Taco Truck; Renee Allen of R&R BBQ; and Christopher Taylor of the Roaming Buffalo.





IJ files Castaneda v. City of El Paso
El Paso Mobile Food Vendors Challenge City’s Effort to Run Them Out of Town

IJ Client Maria Robledo
El Paso Video Click to Play
Download: Map of Vending Prohibitions (PDF)

Should the city of El Paso, Texas, be allowed to turn itself into a No-Vending Zone in order to protect brick-and-mortar restaurants from competition?

The Institute for Justice sought an answer to this question in a major federal lawsuit filed January 26, 2011 on behalf of four El Paso mobile food vendors.

This lawsuit launched a National Street Vending Initiative, a nationwide litigation and activism effort to vindicate the right of street vendors to earn an honest living.  The case against the city of El Paso challenged the constitutionality of the city’s mobile vending restrictions that made it illegal for vendors to operate within 1,000 feet of a restaurant or convenience store, and prohibited them from stopping to await customers anywhere in the city.

In response to the lawsuit, El Paso officials passed a new ordinance eliminating the protectionist regulations against mobile food vendors that formed the basis of the claims raised.  This is a major victory for El Paso mobile food vendors and for economic liberty.  The new ordinance comes only three months after the case was filed.


Click here for more information on this case.

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