On August 7, 2012, the Liberty Justice Center filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a City of Evanston ordinance that exists only to protect established restaurant owners from the legitimate competition that food trucks would bring to the City.
After college, James Nuccio and Gabriel Wiesen wanted to start their own business. At first, they wanted to open a pizza restaurant, but they weren’t able to get financing. So instead, they entered a business with lower startup costs: They bought a food truck.
When Jim and Gabriel created Beavers Donuts in early 2012, they combined two of the country’s hottest culinary trends: gourmet donuts and gourmet food trucks. In less than a year, they have built an enthusiastic following; wherever they go in Chicago and the surrounding area, people line up to get the coffee and donuts they make fresh in their colorful vehicle.
But despite their success elsewhere, James and Gabriel are not allowed to operate in Evanston. That’s because Evanston’s City Code only allows owners or agents of existing brick-and-mortar restaurants to operate food trucks there. That restriction doesn’t serve any legitimate health or safety purpose – Beavers Donuts fulfills every other licensing requirement – but serves only to protect one group of established business owners from creative competition.
This Evanston rule violates the Illinois Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection and due process under the law because it treats two groups of people – those who own restaurants and those who don’t – differently for no valid reason. That’s why the Liberty Justice Center, a public interest litigation center started by the Illinois Policy Institute, is therefore suing on behalf of Jim, Gabriel and Beavers Donuts to have it struck down.
The Liberty Justice Center is a public interest litigation center that was started by the Illinois Policy Institute in 2011. Our mission is to fight for economic and personal liberty, free speech and other fundamental rights in Illinois and beyond. To learn more about the work of the Liberty Justice Center visit libertyjusticecenter.org.