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Chicago’s History as a Food-Trend Leader

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail


Chicago has a long history of being on the cutting edge of food trends, and NATSO members can get an in-depth, guided look at some of today’s hottest food locations during NATSO's Food and Fuel Study Tour in Chicago July 18-20.

Today’s trends might take off like these six classic food offerings that were once little-known but up-and-coming offerings within the Windy City.

The Deep Dish Pizza: Chicago is famous for its deep dish pizza. A man named Ike Sewell created the deep dish pizza in 1943 at his restaurant named Pizzeria Uno. His pizzas were so popular that soon he had to open a second restaurant and today the company has locations throughout the country.

The Malted Milk Shake: Attendees as the NATSO Food and Fuel tour can sample this creation that was invented by Ivar "Pop" Coulson in 1922 while he was working at the Walgreen’s soda fountain in Chicago. Walgreen’s still serves the classic at its flagship store, which attendees can visit during a self-guided walking tour.

The Twinkie: The first Twinkie was invented in Chicago in 1930 during The Great Depression.

McDonald’s Franchise: The first McDonald’s franchise opened in Des Plaines, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago by Ray Kroc more than 50 years ago. We all know how it is grown since then, but the site in Des Plaines is now a museum with a replica of the original.

Pabst Blue Ribbon: This classic beer was first introduced during the 1893 Colombian Exposition, also known as the 1893 World's Fair, which was held in Chicago.

Cracker Jacks: This ballpark staple was also introduced during the 1893 Chicago fair.

Today’s latest offerings coming out of Chicago are catching on nationwide. The NATSO Foundation has handcrafted a customized tour to give operators an early, inside look at some of the hottest foodservice locations in the city, including Revival Food Hall and Eataly.

Foodservice is a crucial and growing profit center for truckstop and travel plaza operators, and you won’t want to miss this learning opportunity. Registration for the event is $1,000 for members and $1,500 for nonmembers. 

See the full schedule and register at For more information, contact Schulte at or (915) 526-5820 with questions.

Photo credit: Christine Schoessler/NATSO

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About the Author

Mindy Long

Mindy Long

Mindy Long has been writing professionally for over 15 years and freelancing full time for the last four. In 2010 Long formed Mindy Long Freelance LLC. As a journalist, she has written about everything from video games to diesel fuel additives. 

Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City. In addition, she has completed writing courses at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Md., and through the OpEd Project, Writer’s Digest and She is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Northwestern Alumni Admissions Council.

Where To Find Me

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