Chimney Stax specializes in a sweet baked treat you probably haven’t seen before. The brand-new truck serves up massive spirals of freshly-baked vegan dough rolled in sprinkles, cinnamon, and other sweet toppings, pairing a slightly-crunchy outside with a chewy, elastic interior.
As co-owner Matthew Lindzon tells it, the chimney stack, or “chimney cake”, is actually a traditional wedding treat that originated in Hungary in the 1600s and spread through Eastern Europe.
Lindzon, who opened the truck with Zach Fiksel, a friend from Ryerson’s business program, first learned about the snack on a trip to Austria last fall. “I was wandering through a Christmas market, stumbled upon these delicious tubes of dough, and I thought – what IS this? This has to come to Toronto.”
As the duo discovered, you can find chimney stacks in plenty of other cities across North America, Europe and Australia, but the trend hadn’t yet spread to Toronto (the closest they got was a shopping mall in Kitchener). “We said, it’s catching on in cities – we need to be on this curve,” Lindzon said.
Lindzon and Fiksel felt appetites in Toronto would be high for the treat. Novelty aside, “there’s such a great spot in the market for it – they’re vegan, they’re baked, and everything we’ve got for desserts are deep, deep-fried and overloaded with fat and carbs and all that stuff.”
Making one of the nearly-foot-high dough spirals is actually quite simple – the whole process happens right on the truck. Their dough contains flour, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, vegan margarine, and yeast.
Once everything’s mixed, they portion the dough out, stretch it into tubes, and wrap it around special spindles. After a few minutes in their on-board rotisserie ovens, they slip the finished dough spiral off the spindle and into a plastic bag, and you’ve got yourself a snack.
Currently, the stacks come in four basic flavour options: Plain, cinnamon sugar, rainbow sprinkles, and “chimney duster”, which mixes cocoa and icing sugar.
Though they started simple, Lindzon says they’ve got “plans upon plans upon plans to bring out new, fun ingredients.” Their next move will likely be incorporating some dip-able icing or Nutella.
“We’ve tested some with Skor bits on the outside, just caramelized around the whole thing,” he adds. “It’s really amazing – but they take a little more work, and we wanted to make sure people are excited about this before we really get ahead of ourselves.”
Another possibility for down the road: savoury chimney stacks, including chive, cheddar, and jalapeño.
So far, Lindzon says, they’ve had a few folks from Eastern Europe recognize the treat from back home. Mostly, though, they’ve been introducing the treat to brand-new diners. “It’s a lot of fun. It’s great seeing the reaction on their faces – they get that coiled Chimney Stack and pop it in their mouth, and they taste how great it is,” he says.
Most satisfying has been serving customers used to having to pass up baked goods due to dietary restrictions. “We had some great reactions of people walking by, asking, it nut free, is it dairy free? It’s vegan, so it’s great to be able to say yes.
“People tell us they have trouble finding snacks around the city that they can enjoy. They can’t have BeaverTails, they can’t have Tiny Toms – but they can have our treat. We’re hoping that it’ll catch on.”