August 19, 2014

City of Chicago Issues First Emerging Business Permit to e.a.t. Spots

Revitalized Newsstands Transformed into Street Side Kiosks Serving Nutritious Fare Sourced from Local Farms

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today the issuance of the first-ever City of Chicago Emerging Business Permit to e.a.t. spots, the inaugural venture of e.a.t., a local non-profit organization that seeks to improve the Chicago food system through education, agriculture and technology. e.a.t. spots will transform underutilized newsstands into healthy food kiosks, a combination of chef-driven street food and mini-farmers markets, and create 18 jobs employing workers returning to the workforce. The Emerging Business Permit was created as part of business licensing reform in 2012 in order to allow new, innovative businesses to launch when activities don’t fall under the current license structure.

“I am committed to working with local businesses to ensure that Chicago is a friendly place to do business,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “e.a.t. spots is a great example of what can happen when City Hall partners with the business community and remains flexible to meet their needs, allowing business owners to focus on what they need to – growing their business and creating jobs in our neighborhoods. ”

e.a.t. spots is made possible through the combined efforts of e.a.t.; Irv and Shelly’s Fresh Picks, a home and office food delivery company that sources food locally; StreetWise, a non-profit organization that helps men and women find stability and employment; and Lifeway, makers of Lifeway Kefir products.
The first phase of e.a.t. spot locations will transform four newsstands, create 18 jobs, and provide workforce training and other supports to its employees to ensure they are trained and ready to successfully reenter the workforce.

“This is exactly why we created the Emerging Business Permit, to be able to assist emerging businesses to getting off the ground quickly while being compliant,” said Emma Mitts, Alderman, 37th Ward.

“At e.a.t., our mission is to increase awareness of healthy, local food and to make it accessible to everyone,” said Ken Waagner, founder and CEO of e.a.t. Chicago. “e.a.t. spots is our first platform to deliver on our mission and we are thrilled to launch this innovative micro-retail concept with the City of Chicago, Streetwise, Fresh Picks, and Lifeway.”

The e.a.t. spots menu was created by Chef Shaw Lash, a former chef for Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill, and will offer nutritious wraps, salads, fresh snacks, fruits, and vegetables. Breakfast items include a tofu scramble wrap, local Greek yogurt, and gluten-free muffins, while lunch items include an Asian kale salad with pickled shiitake mushrooms and Thai chicken wraps made with sprouted ancient grain tortillas.

The first of the four pilot locations launches today at 368 W. Madison (at Wacker) and will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The remaining three e.a.t. spots will open in the fall at three repurposed newsstands located throughout the central business district, with additional locations intended for Chicago neighborhoods in 2015.

The Emerging Business Permit was created during licensing reform efforts in 2012 that simplified the City’s business license structure and reduced the number of license types by 60 percent. The new permit is intended to support and encourage new business ideas that don’t fall under the existing license structure. Upon review and approval of the proposed business activity by the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, as well as any other relevant City agencies such as the Departments of Public Health, Transportation, and Buildings, the City will issue a non-renewable, revocable permit that is valid for up to 2 years. During this time, the City can work to incorporate the business activity into a permanent license category.

For more information about the mission of e.a.t., visit

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