New Truck Alert: Homage Street Food

by Alex Levine, July 25, 2011

Chicago will soon be getting a new food truck: Homage Street Food. This new truck offers dishes inspired by street fare from an array of world cultures.

Mike Maloney & Elaine Toner, a husband and wife duo, run Homage and cite George Orwell’s novel Homage to Catalonia as inspiration for the truck’s name. Mike is the managed  The Grafton in Lincoln Square for several years, and Elaine worked in pastry kitchens and in restaurant service. The pair had been working on a similar restaurant concept, but decided to start with a food truck after attending San Francisco’s first annual Street Food Conference. Elaine says the decision was in part a financial one  but also because “global street food in a food truck just sounded right.” Plus, they got some Kickstarter cash for the food truck.

Homage owners Mike & Elaine

Their menu has a myriad of super foreign dishes such as: Indonesian gado-gado, Asian dumplings (one of my favorite foods), German currywurst, Peruvian butifarra, and Korean Tteokbokki. Not gonna lie, I have never heard of 80% of their menu items. However, for me food trucks are about culinary adventures, so I’m totally digging this truck’s menu. Plus, Homage wins brownie points for observing Meatless Monday.

Like many trucks in Chicago, current legislation puts the kibosh on some menu items they would like to serve. Elaine says, “There are so many fantastic street food dishes we will be unable to serve. A lot of the street food sweets seem to be in the form of a deep fried dessert. South African bunny chow, a dish I love, is an Indian-style curry served in a bread bowl. I really want to serve it on the truck, but it would hold together better if I could serve it to order as opposed to have it sitting in the warmer for some time.”

So, why a food truck when legislation is so prohibitive? “The food truck is a brilliant concept. I am excited to see great food trucks in Chicago right now. Fine cooks having an opportunity to cook their food…under the current ordinance anyway,” Elaine says. “It was just fantastic to see how the whole food truck community worked together. So, we too are now really excited to join the Chicago food truck scene.”

There is no set launch date, but on June 18 they told us they’d be launching in “a couple of weeks,” so we can expect to see them out and about very soon!

UPDATE: Homage plans to be on the road on August 1 or August 8!

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