Restaurant Round-Up: Food Truck Season Approaches

The brewpub creeps closer to completion, an Indian food truck may be joining the street scene this summer, and local restaurants and food trucks are in conversation with the city about finding space for everyone.

Brewpub gearing up the growlers

It’s been slow and steady on the brewpub front, but progress continues. “We’ve kind of been going back and forth with the liquor board. It’s more of an annoyance than anything else,” Fletcher Stevens tells EDGEYK.com.

The equipment for the brewpub hasn’t shown up yet, but Stevens expects it to be in by the end of April.

The pub has also decided on their opening plan; a successful showing of the 2-litre growlers at the Long John Jamboree means that for the first month of operation, the brewpub is only going to be filling growlers people have bought in advance.

It’s partially a plan to try and limit the amount of beer going out — “We want to make sure we don’t sell out all the beer,” says Stevens — but it’s also because at the Jamboree the plan to fill pre-purchased growlers got a big thumbs-up. “We were also considering just giving a discount to people who pre-bought growlers, but a lot of people said they’d rather just wait. So I mentioned this idea, and we got this huge line-up, so I guess that decided that.”

Stevens has also officially hired a chef, and they’ll be putting together the menu for the pub soon, hopefully having it ready by mid-May.

From market to asphalt

Fans who remember their Indian food from last year’s farmers market may be in luck this year. Mohammed and Mitu Nahar are looking to get their food truck operating for this summer.

Butter chicken is going to be “the big hero,” as Mitu Nahar puts it, on the Saffron food truck menu. They’ll be offering a few variations on their staple dish, as well as beef curry, a few different kinds of naan bread, and samosas.

Mohammed owned a restaurant in Montreal and is planning on open his own restaurant here, but until that happens they’re doing the food truck together.

The Nahars were hoping originally to have it on the streets last summer, and their Facebook page for the Saffron food truck had a May opening listed, but they’ve been having trouble getting the permit to operate.

“Last year we had to try to get the permit, renovate the truck, get insurance for it,” she says, but with the rest of it mostly taken care of now, she’s confident that the truck will be up and running soon enough. “I think when we get the insurance taken care, that’ll be it,” she says.

The truck still needs another inspection from the Fire Marshal, but once that’s taken care of, Nahar believes the truck will be all set to go.

“I’m 100 percent planning on it,” she adds, “but I’m in talks right now with the city to see where we can operate.”

The plan is to have the truck operate in three locations; the Walmart parking lot, in the downtown core, and by the Co-op.

When she’s not cooking, she’s a nurse’s assistant at Stanton Territorial Hospital.

“The food truck is perfect for that; when I have five days off in a row or something I can just do the truck.”

A place for everyone

A memorandum to the city about parking regulations for food trucks will be coming to council, possibly sometime in the next few weeks.

The issue originally came up in a meeting of the Municipal Services Committee from last year, sparked by a presentation from a few local restaurant and food truck owners, including Karen Wasicuna from Wise Guy, and Fadil Memedi from Javaroma.

The complaint was that food trucks were crowding around a given business, and taking traffic from it. The proposed changes to the business license bylaw would put a cap on the number of food trucks that could operate in a given area.

Robin Wasicuna, owner of the Wise Guy food truck, says that although he feels the complaint may be unfounded, he and other vendors and restaurants have mostly worked out a plan to present to council that he believes satisfies the restaurants and also works for the city.

“Every city with food trucks has these rules in place, but they’re hard to implement in a small town with only a couple good places to work a food truck. In bigger cities like Edmonton or Toronto the rules work great, but we’re a much smaller city,” says Wasicuna.

Nalini Naidoo, Director of Communications for the city, pointed out that these sorts of consultations are far from uncommon, and that every city develops a slightly different policy. “Some restaurants don’t let food trucks operate within 80 metres of their location, some say 20 metres, and some cities say food trucks can only operate in certain designated areas. We need a solution that works for our community.”

She added that the city is not yet ready to present a memorandum, and they’ll be seeking further consultation with restaurant owners and food truck owners before presenting a memo to council.

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