Toronto food trucks get ready for winter

By on November 14, 2013


What happens to food trucks in winter time? Good question! As the days grow shorter and colder, we wondered the same thing. We talked to a number of food trucks to find out whether they’ll be braving the winter. If so, we asked how they cope and what the challenges are. And if not, we find out what they’ll be doing on the meantime. Here’s what they had to say:

Team Frostbite: You Bet We’ll be Out There

Gourmet Gringos, Krystian Catala

“As long as it stays snow free, we’ll be doing one or two services a week. That’s a good winter schedule. We’ll do the regular services like Roy Thomson Hall, Peter and King Street.  It’s hard in the winter, and service does slow down. The water pump freezing is an issue. This year we’re storing the truck in an indoor facility so it won’t freeze. The next best thing we can do is put a block heater inside the truck and hopefully it won’t freeze.  We have heaters in the truck to stay warm. We’ll also keep busy doing a lot of events. And we just opened a new restaurant at Bathurst and St. Clair and we’re opening another one in Aurora. So we’ll be busy.”

Hamilton’s Luchador Gourmet Streatery, Reuben Salonga

“We’re going to be doing the winter. This is our first one. Even for the big guys, the Gorilla Cheeses of this world, winter is a tough beat. In terms of things slowing down, a lot has to do with making sure you’re not going out on street alone. One truck is good and sometimes it can be great. But if you have 3 or 4 trucks you have an event. That’s how we think we’re going to be able to make it – by sticking with our friends.”

Team Fireside: Winter Lunch Service? Not likely! 

Gourmet Bitches, Shontelle Pinch

“No, we’re not going out this winter. We worked until the end of December last year and the truck was absolutely freezing.  The snow is a hindrance with these large, heavy trucks. I’ll focus on the hot sauce I’m presently launching.”

Hogtown Smoke, Scott Fraser

“We did it last year because we had to. This year, I think we’ll go out very sparingly.  I think we’ll go on a little hiatus after new years eve until the spring. These trucks are very hard to winterize. We had to rent indoor storage to keep the truck from freezing. We’d back it out at night while we smoked the meat. Drive it in for a few hours to let the water pipes defrost. It’s also freezing in the trucks, the exhaust fans take out all the air, they take out all the warm air, too. If you could do $2000 lunches it’d be one thing. But to go out and do $500 or $600 lunches, you’re doing it just to give your employees a paycheque.  Right now, I’m sitting in a warm BBQ restaurant – that’s how I plan to spend the winter.” [Hogtown just opened a very successful sit down restaurant on Queen Street east in the beaches. – ed]

Localista, Tamara Chaikin

“I am putting the truck into storage for the winter. The cold weather obviously deters people from wanting to eat outside and the truck itself would need to be winterized to ensure the water doesn’t freeze etc. I am new in the business so I don’t know how trucks survive in the winter – catering would be a good option but I don’t believe there’s enough around to support a full time business. I am looking for a seasonal job to get me through! I suppose that a workable set of bylaws would make it easier to survive the winter – skating rinks, winter events would be much more approachable without the severe restrictions Toronto places on our industry now.”

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