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Everyone wants Chicago's lunch money. Let them compete for it.

Cupcakes for Courage owner Laura Pekarik lost her battle against Chicago's strictest-in-the-nation food truck rules in Illinois' highest court but is weighing an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

There’s lots of competition among companies who want to bring restaurant meals to your door. Chicago-based delivery platform Grubhub saw one would-be rival step aside Tuesday, at least for now.

Amazon Restaurants underperformed, and away it goes: Amazon said it would shut down its U.S. restaurant delivery business, leaving Grubhub to duke it out with Uber Eats and DoorDash, among others.


Why didn’t Amazon’s delivery biz take off? For one thing, it didn’t score deals with fast-food giants. Competitor UberEats will bring you a Big Mac; Grubhub delivers Taco Bell and KFC. Maybe it takes a Crunchwrap Supreme to get ahead these days.

Here’s what Grubhub didn’t benefit from: government protection. Chicago, for example, didn’t step in and decree that Amazon Restaurants couldn’t encroach on Grubhub delivery areas.


That would seem unthinkable. Yet it’s the exact approach Chicago has taken in its ongoing effort to crush food trucks. The city has fought for years to shield bricks-and-mortar restaurants, hindering mobile entrepreneurs and then winning court challenges.

Cupcake truck owner Laura Pekarik has led the food-truck cause since suing the city in 2012, seeking more flexibility to sell treats like pink velvet and French silk pie cupcakes. Having just lost in Illinois’ highest court, she is now weighing whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, she told The Wall Street Journal.

Pekarik, who runs Cupcakes for Courage and owns storefront bakeries in Oak Park and Elmhurst, takes issue with a rule prohibiting food trucks from parking within 200 feet of any establishment that serves food, putting most of the Loop off-limits. She also objects to the requirement that trucks carry GPS devices to allow the city to monitor their whereabouts.

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These rules are not typical. They are the strictest in the nation, designed to please the powerful restaurant lobby by neutralizing the threat of roving food peddlers. Smaller cities have yielded more robust food truck scenes, leaving Chicago eating the mobile culinary dust of Indianapolis, Philadelphia and many others.

Here are a few things that would be great for Chicago: More affordable points of entry for up-and-coming businesses. More cross-pollination of cuisines among neighborhoods. More chances for skyscraper-bound office workers to seek the noontime sunshine. Easily accessible tacos.

The city shouldn’t be spending resources to thwart innovation.

Back to Grubhub, which sprouted from the mind of some hungry college kids and became a $6 billion public company with upward of 2,000 employees. It grew out of the University of Chicago, where CEO Matt Maloney was no doubt exposed to some thinking on free markets while earning his MBA. His company succeeded even without a government finger on the scale.

Let’s allow everyone who wants to bring us lunch to engage in fair competition.