The food truck/cart industry has always been a staple on the Winnipeg summer landscape. From the chip stands of the early 1930′s right up to modern smokie hotdog carts that dot the Winnipeg summer landscape like dandelions on a prairie field. So why all of the interest in what could be called nouveau gourmand food movement of bringing typically high end restaurant fare and serving it curbside out of a mobile trailer?
Personally I think it’s about the whole democratization of food, the idea proposed by so many of the crop of new talented cooks and chefs in typically high-end, high pressure jobs. Patrons are starting to suffer from white table-cloth fatigue, the idea of getting dressed up and paying high-end prices for everything but the food is wearing thin. Just think about it, if you go to say 529 Wellington and order a meal you’re not only paying for the food you’re paying for the cost of maintaining the building, the staff, the food supply chain and on and on. Winnipeggers are a fiercely cheap and efficient lot, we brag about how little we paid for something rather than how expensive something is. It only seems to reason that eventually it would filter down to our food choices.
Now I am not saying that Winnipeg invented the high-end food truck, that phenomenon has gone on for years in other enlightened cities having only recently caught on in a big way here due to City Hall’s reluctance to let the inevitable happen.
On any given weekday lunchtime during Winnipeg’s all too brief spring and summer one can wander downtown to Broadway Avenue, the heart of Winnipeg’s open air food scene. As the office towers break for lunch thousands of hungry men and women emerge ready to see the delights awaiting them where grilled smokies and hamburgers once dominated the dining scene.
One sunny spring day I took an hour out of my day and investigated the food truck landscape of East Broadway; here is what I found.