The mobile food industry is one of the largest growing search topics on the internet. Calgary has a growing “food truck” culture, bringing an expanding amount of street food to various places around town. The city has increasingly become a hub for this new and inventive food culture and continues to expand, due to a growing desire to make locally made, sustainable and high level food readily available to the general population of Calgary, and everyone is loving it! Food trucks bring about dynamism to the streets of our wonderful city and bring people from all over the place together to bond over items like southern fried chicken and belgian waffles, Indian curbside eats and street side tacos. They are generally long-term and sustainable businesses which can be valuable and beneficial to the owners as well as the local communities which they serve. There has recently been a city-wide regulatory system that has been put in to place to make sure the food truck culture is effective and keeps everyone safe. Mayor Naheed Nenshi has been working closely with various departments of the city in order to ensure that all vendors have the proper regulations in place to allow these vendors to serve the city. Vendors can obtain licenses from the city for the mobile trucks, but they must adhere to strict guideline to ensure public safety. And there is a lot of diversity when it comes to the eats you can get right on the street. Says Nenshi of the food truck revolution, “they work well because they give people diversity in food to try, which is great. They give entrepreneurs an opportunity to get into business without the huge capital cost of opening a restaurant, and they really add to a vibrant street life because people are out on the street eating and I think there’s something to be said for that.”
The “YYC Food Trucks” project was originally created by James Boettcher, operator of Fiasco premium artisan gelato and launched in August 2011 on Stephen Avenue. Boettcher teamed up with city officials as well as Tourism Calgary and Calgary Association for the project. Until the launch of the pilot project, food trucks were limited to operating solely on private property. The pilot project allowed for food trucks to operate in a majority of public parking lots, as well as where there is available street parking (as long as they paid for parking). Boettcher founded YYC Food Trucks in 2010 because he believed they would generate a better sense of community, and was he ever right!
Some of the amazing offerings include; Fiasco Gelato (handcrafted authentic gelato’s and sorbetos), Perogy Boyz (Eastern European-inspired street food), Alley Burger (gourmet burgers), Fries & Dolls (gluten-free gourmet french fries & smokies), Pimentos Mobile Pizzeria (Chef Mario’s amazing creations streetside), Jojo’s BBQ (claiming the best true blue southern-style BBQ) and Los Chilitos Taco Patrol (authentic Mexican dishes). The Holy Crepe Food Truck brings a spectacular range of foods from all over the world and blends them into the most delicious and flavourful crepes possible. From stuffed crepes with savory ingredients, such as greek salad and curry chicken and rice, to sweet and decadent crepes – they have it all. Jelly Modern Doughnuts serve gourmet doughnuts which are made with locally sourced and organic ingredients and the doughnut flavours include red velvet, maple bacon, coconut and hand-dipped Madagascar bourbon vanilla. The Mighty Skillet Brunch Truck offers quality breakfasts at affordable prices. The Red Wagon Diner is a Montreal smoked meat food truck, the first of its kind in Calgary. Mooses BBQ specializes in juicy BBQ burgers. If you’re looking for chef-driven cuisine with an eccentric international flair check out Braizen Food Truck for items such as jerk chicken stew and meatball sliders. For a list of the trucks and their locations visit www.yycfoodtrucks.com or you can download the app from www.streetfoodapp.com that will keep you up to date on which trucks are open around the city and where.
Whatever you’re craving you can be sure that one of these new restaurants on wheels is offering it roadside and with Calgary’s ever changing climate there is sure to be a great day to head out and enjoy a wonderfully prepared meal outdoors. In the meantime we’ll “keep on truckin” to bring you news about the newest food trucks around town. — Christina Ferguson