Winnipeg arrived late to the food truck table, but wasted little time crowding around it.
At least three new hopefuls are rolling out this year, adding to a fleet of close to 20 that didn’t really get rolling until 2011.
And though it’s getting crowded out on Broadway, Winnipeg’s version of Eat Street, it’s still more of a street party than a food fight.
“I guess we’re getting close to critical mass, but at this point it’s may the best food win,” Jordan Zwingerman, who owns and operates the Stuff It truck, said Thursday.
If it’s a contest, then the clear winners are those voting with their mouths. No longer are your options limited to a smokie or steamed weiner, with a few topping options thrown in.
Street food vendors are elevating comfort foods and delivering flavour profiles from around the globe, sometimes all on the same menu.
“It’s unbelievable the variety that they have now,” Chantelle, a paramedic, said Thursday just after the lunch-hour rush on Broadway. “You see all those shows on Food Network but you don’t think it’s going to come to a place like Winnipeg. Then all of a sudden you have more than hot-dog carts.”
Network shows such as Eat Street and the Great Food Truck race have definitely been part of the push, for both vendor and consumer. And changes in regulations have made it easier on those starting up.
Husband and wife team Mark and Shannon Langtry were the first newbies out of the gate, with Habanero Sombrero Taqueria debuting its Mexican fare on April 29.
After starting out in the restaurant business, Mark made a name for himself playing in a number of punk and rock bands, and the 50-year-old also owned a property maintenance business. And while Shannon, 42, will hang on to a part-time job as a health care aide, the two decided “it was just time for a change.”
“It’s a risk, obviously. I quit my job, sold my other business and started this one up. But it’s way more fun doing this,” Mark said.
The other two additions to the food truck phenomenon this season will be late arrivals.
The On A Roll sandwich truck expects to hit the streets on Tuesday after some plumbing issues, while Vilai’s Spice Box is hoping to be opened on May 30 after taking late delivery of its custom made truck. Each has a menu rich in world flavours, and each promises to spend time off-Broadway.
Vilai Pinasouc said she’ll most of her weekdays on Sargent Avenue at Berry Street, and isn’t yet sure if she’ll travel the festival circuit key to most operators, but intends to work at it year round.
Steve Conner, who owns On A Roll, figures on moving around downtown to cater to others descending from office towers, and figures having a trained chef dishing out meals will be what differentiates his trucker stop. Not that that’s the only way to roll.
“I was at the trucks last year, and I enjoyed every meal,” Conner said.
Where you can find at Winnipeg’s food trucks — and what to find there:
Source: Winnipeg Sun