More Food Truck Events Coming To Mississauga

You could argue that food has been enjoying a renaissance ever since The Food Network made chefs into rock stars and food into an experience. Now, people demand gourmet poutines with duck meat and pine nuts and locally made, organic smoothies infused with flax, kumquats and acai berries.

But despite how adventurous foodies have become, classic culinary comforts - like that cottage country chip trunk or ice cream trolley - remain near and dear to the hearts of hungry pedestrians. So, as hamburgers breed pulled pork sliders and cheese fries beget butter chicken poutines, traditional food trucks grow bigger, fancier and more exciting - and Mississauga is slowly but surely welcoming the food truck trend.

Last Saturday, despite the rain, wind and single-digit temperature, Sauga's Celebration Square beckoned hungry passersby’s to its Food Truck Eats event (which the city held in partnership with Ontario Food Trucks). Running from late morning until the early evening, the vendors of such well-known trucks as Urban Smoke Fusion BBQ, Fidel Gastro’s, Bonfire Catering, Gourmet Gringos, Hank Daddy’s BBQ, Rome’n Chariot, Cupcake Diner, Pretty Sweet, and Beavertails Pastry braved the drizzle and cold to serve up everything from meatball sliders to red velvet cupcakes.

With the weather as terrible as it was, it was a little difficult to gauge how much more popular the event might have been had the sun made an appearance. That said, some vendors still had to close up early after selling off all their edible stock.

"We sold 300 cupcakes," said Savera Hashmi, owner of the Pretty Sweet truck. "That's pretty great considering the weather."

Another vendor, Johnny Verdile of Rome'n Chariot, said he also enjoyed decent numbers. "We served 100 people today, approximately."

So, if people are making the trek to the Square (or the drive, as evidenced by the gridlock in the area) by the hundreds despite poor weather, it seems obvious there's demand for trucks. But is it easy for vendors to set up shop in Sauga?

"[The trucks] get a great response [from residents]," said Rome'n Chariot vendor and Mississauga dweller Verdile. "We're waiting for the city to open the gates so we're able to feed the public longer than the current by law allows. Right now, you can't stay in one location much longer than 20 minutes, and it takes an hour to heat up the truck."

As for why it's difficult to park and serve in the city, Verdile theorizes it's because the by laws are simply out of date, with many having been written over two decades ago for smaller trucks serving less complex dishes, such as ice cream and coffee.

When asked if or how Sauga officials reached out to him, he credits his appearance at the event to Ontario Food Trucks, an organization comprised of vendors and enthusiasts aiming to raise awareness and change current by laws.

"If it wasn't for them, we'd have had a much harder time," he said.

Other vendors are Celebration Square veterans who hope for more opportunities to serve Sauga's enthusiast public in the future.

"We've done three events in the city and two at Celebration Square," said Pretty Sweet vendor Hashmi. "We're hoping to be here [the Square] on New Years."

And while Hashmi acknowledges Sauga-stationed vendors don't experience the kind of freedom that vendors in places like New York City get, she does say Sauga offers vendors opportunities.

"The city is receptive, and the city likes to work with us. Letting us stop for enough time to serve customers is the tricky part, but I think it's going to change. I think they're going to become more flexible."

Fortunately for vendors and diners alike, the city is open to further embracing the food truck craze.

"We are happy to confirm we will have an exciting and delicious mix of gourmet food trucks at our Tree Lighting Celebration on November 24 and our New Year's Eve event at Celebration Square. Given the success of our food truck events in the past couple of years, we are in talks with Ontario Food Trucks to plan another Food Truck Eats event in spring/summer of 2013," said Jennifer Burns, event programmer for Celebration Square, in an email.

According to Burns, the event drew over 500 people - an impressive feat considering the abysmal weather and outdoor nature of the event. One must be very dedicated to food to willingly juggle heavy umbrellas with beavertails and chocolate cupcakes.

"We were very excited by how well the Food Truck Eats Mississauga event was received by residents. There was a lot of buzz leading up to the event, and even the miserable weather couldn't keep the crowds away," Burns said.

So all in all, it looks like residents are game and the city is ever more willing to host events. It'll be the random stops in bustling areas like Heartland, Streetsville and the Lakeshore that might continue to elude vendors. Do you think the city should be even more flexible? Let us know in the comments!

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