Could it be another year without food carts in downtown Peoria?

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 6:36 PM CDT
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PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) - “Grill Em’ All” food truck started serving up unique foods in 2021 as a food cart and although they were the new kids on wheels, they already upgraded from cart to truck.

“I’ve always thought food trucks were kind of cool,” Owner of Grill Em’ All Stephen LeMasters said. “I left a corporate job a year ago, and I just wanted a change. I wanted something different.”

LeMasters said he was ready to ride around Peoria and other cities all summer long, but he would not get a permit to put a smaller cart downtown because it was not worth it.

“I think that I can do just as well down there as I can do setting up in someone’s parking lot without having to spend a lot of money,” LeMasters said.

The Peoria City Manager’s office said for the third year in a row no food carts signed up for a downtown permit - they call it a pandemic pause - but restaurants like El Zarape Mexican Food and Bar said they would not be going back to a food cart because they were all about the trucks.

“You don’t want to stay in the same place too long. If you spread out and go to different places that first-time customer, it’s always good to serve people for the first time,” Owner of El Zarape Brendon Davis said.

Zarape’s said they were working on getting a permit for their food truck to take downtown but they would not be parking in front of the courthouse - they would move wherever crowds took them.

“The on the go food is really in right now. were seeing a lot of people that want to book the truck and reserve the truck all over.”

With companies still working from home - the city believed the carts would come when more people are downtown.

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