Harry’s Cafe Awaits Council Decision on Food Trucks

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Morning coffee choices for Naperville commuters may expand as Naperville City Council considers revising food vendor ordinances.

For 41 years, Harry’s Café has been a mainstay at the 5th Avenue train station. But owner Harry Buenger’s permit renewal hit an unexpected snag on Thursday.

“I got an email saying that they are not renewing my permit – that there have been changes in the code on how they permit the vending units and the coffee trucks and the food trucks,” said Buenger. “And that they’re gonna want me off the platform here, they don’t want me up on the platform.”

Longtime customers of Harry’s have rallied in support to keep him in place, with over 2,000 signing an online petition and more than 300, a written version.

Customer Bill Andrichik spoke out on Harry’s behalf.

“He’s kind of a pillar of the community here and so we’re hopeful that between the petition and people showing up tomorrow night that we can get that decision to be changed,” he said.

The city council meeting tomorrow night is where the issue will be discussed. An agenda item shows a proposal to amend the municipal code to allow vending at a commuter train station during the morning commute, prior to 10:00 a.m.

City spokeswoman Linda LaCloche said in a written statement the new proposal “allows Harry’s to keep operating as is in a non-exclusive manner.”

Harry’s okay with some competition, he’s said he’s had it before. He’s just hoping to get a five-year renewal for himself, so he can stay put until retirement.

“I’ve always been able to make money but this is my heartthrob, and it always been my passion for the last forty some years that I’ve been down here,” said Buenger. “Hopefully it will continue.”

Naperville News 17’s Kim Pirc, Aysha Ashley Househ and Christine Lena report.