Gaztro-Wagon announced today on Twitter that its Edgewater storefront (5973 N. Clark St.) has closed its doors. The food truck, one of Chicago mobile food's pioneering efforts, will go on hiatus until spring.
The decision was a financial one, said founding owner Matt Maroni. With the cold weather and amount of food-truck competitors, winter 2012 wasn't looking to be a viable season. The naan-wiches return around April and will be cooked out of the kitchen of Morso, where Maroni was its opening chef.
"Last winter was just tough. Going out gambling and losing every day isn’t the easiest thing to eat," Maroni said. "Do we double-down and keep going or do we get smart and pull the plug? It was a tough decision, but it was just one of those things that had to be done."
Maroni and Phillip Foss were regarded as pioneers in Chicago's food-truck movement. With Foss shutting down his Meatyballs Mobile last November to focus on his upscale brick-and-mortar El Ideas, Chicago's founding food trucks are off the streets.
Maroni worked closely with 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack to introduce an expanded food-truck ordinance to make on-site preparation legal. The ordinance remains in legislative purgatory at City Hall.
Maroni began his career as executive chef at Chicago's Mid-America Club from 2007 to 2009 and has a degree in hotel and restaurant management. In the last few years, he has made food trucks his raison d'etre, diving head-first into studying municipal codes governing food trucks in other cities (the cities that actually allow food trucks to serve, get this, fresh-cooked food) before opening the Gaztro-Wagon storefront.
Maroni is also transitioning to a consulting role at Morso, the Lincoln Park restaurant he opened in August. He says there's a certain degree of burnout factor, and was glad he made the decision to take a break on his own accord.
Kevin Pang contributed to this report
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