Beavers Donuts v. City Of Evanston

Two young entrepreneurs are prohibited from bringing their food truck to Evanston because of an arbitrary, anticompetitive ordinance.

So they’re seeking to have the restriction struck down in court.

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When James Nuccio and Gabriel Wiesen launched their food truck, Beavers Donuts, they were simply following their dreams. And they’ve received a warm reception: local governments from Chicago to the suburbs either already welcome food trucks or are working to update out-of-date regulations, and their hungry customers are grateful for the coffee and gourmet donuts they supply.

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.

“The Illinois Constitution guarantees equal protection and due process under the law,” said Jacob Huebert, Senior Attorney at the Liberty Justice Center, a public interest litigation center that is representing the entrepreneurs. “But Evanston isn’t treating people equally. The City is giving restaurant owners a special right that it won’t give to everyone else, for no legitimate reason.”

After college, James Nuccio and Gabriel Wiesen wanted to start their own business. At first, they wanted to open a restaurant – a pizza shop, but they weren’t able to get financing. So instead, they entered a business with lower startup costs: They bought a food truck.

Jim and Gabe created Beavers Donuts in early 2012. It combines two of the country’s hottest culinary trends: gourmet donuts and gourmet food trucks. In less than a year, they built an enthusiastic following and wherever they go in Chicago and the surrounding area, people line up to purchase the coffee and donuts they make fresh in their colorful vehicle.

But despite the success their hard work has created elsewhere, Jim and Gabe 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 but serves only to protect certain established business owners from creative competition.

“The Illinois Constitution guarantees equal protection and due process under the law,” points out Jacob Huebert, the LJC’s Senior Attorney. But Evanston isn’t treating people equally. The City is giving restaurant owners a special right that it won’t give to everyone else, for no legitimate reason.”

Arbitrary government restrictions on our economic freedom deny individuals their constitutional rights and damage our economy. Evanston’s law doesn’t only harm two friends who are trying to pursue their dreams and create something new – it also withholds the benefits of greater choice and competition from every consumer.

That’s why, on August 7, 2012, the Liberty Justice Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of Jim and Gabe to have the restriction struck down.

The attorney for Beavers Donuts v. City of Evanston is Jacob Huebert, senior attorney at the Liberty Justice Center. For more information, or to arrange an interview with Jacob about the case, contact Kayla Weems, Media Relations Manager, at (312) 346-5700 or by email at kweems@libertyjusticecenter.org