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Daywatch: The latest additions to Chicago’s history of street vending


Good morning, Chicago.

On a chilly late winter evening, the smell of cooked meat washed over the traffic backed up outside the Salt Shed music venue.

The smell came from the folding tables and stools set up across the street, where several vendors were selling arepas, empanadas and pastelitos out of multicolored coolers. Benches and a shopping cart were packed with snacks and cans of Sprite and Fanta.

This is where Edwin Bravo was selling tequeños, outside the migrant shelter he’s staying in. Venezuelans more established in the city bring him the precooked food, and in return take a cut of the money, he said. The food at the shelter is terrible, he said, and he figured plenty of residents would take him up on his two-for-$5 special.

Bravo and the others set up on the West Town corner are one type of the street vendors who are becoming an increasingly familiar sight, as those newly arrived in the area look for opportunities to work. They are part of an informal economy that has gained visibility as more than 36,000 people have arrived in Chicago from the southern border since August 2022.

The new arrivals are the latest additions to Chicago’s history of street vending.

Read the full story from the Tribune’s Sarah Freishtat and Kate Armanini.

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Chicago Tribune , 2024-03-14 11:23:11

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