Vancouver street-food program expands with 15 new carts

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      An expansion to Vancouver’s street-food program will see another 15 carts launched this month, offering menu items including gourmet macaroni and cheese, Australian savoury pies, Belgian waffles, and Filipino fusion.

      In an announcement outside Vancouver City Hall today (May 2), Mayor Gregor Robertson said the 15 new trucks will be located outside of the downtown core. Locations include Victory Square, Abbott Street near Rogers Arena, and the Olympic Village SkyTrain Station.

      “The locations were chosen for where there aren’t food carts and restaurants currently,” Robertson told reporters. “In the downtown, we obviously have a good density now with that, and it’s looking at as we expand the program, where the best spots are.”

      In a new addition to the food-cart program this year, five of the vendors will be set up as part of a cluster on Hamilton Street, outside the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

      Deputy city manager Sadhu Johnston said the city wanted to try a small group of food trucks, with the potential to expand to more “pods” of carts.

      “It’s kind of our first foray into seeing how it works when you get a number of them together,” he told the Straight.

      “We’ve done a fair amount of research, looking at...Portland and other cities that have really done the pod approach, and we kind of wanted to try with this cluster to see what is the right mix for Vancouver.”

      A new food cart from Patisserie Lebeau offering Belgian waffles will be among the group of trucks near Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Olivier Lebeau, the owner of Patisserie Lebeau, said he prefers the option to be located in a cluster of vendors.

      “It’s a way better opportunity compared to being by yourself, one truck in a busy street, because you’re becoming a destination for people,” he said.

      Lebeau noted the food cart will feature at least three kinds of savoury waffles and three types of sweet waffles at a time.

      Other offerings from the new food carts will include salads, French crepes, Philly cheese steaks, tacos, Thai food, and homemade diner food from Dougie Diner.

      Owners of the Aussie Pie Guy food cart say their truck will feature nine different kinds of Australian savoury pies, including a traditional meat pie, chicken, a vegan gluten-free option, and a breakfast pie.

      “It seems to be a hole in the market here,” Linda Lowery, one of three owners of the food cart, told the Straight. “There isn’t any good Australian pies, and Matt’s been complaining since he’s been here,” she added, pointing to co-owner Matt Fitzhardinge, who was wearing a kangaroo costume for the occasion.

      Christina Culver and Jesse Savath, co-owners of Culver City Salads, say their cart will be focused on offering a “healthy alternative”. The main menu items will consist of salads, while sides such as hummus, cookies and kale chips will also be featured, in addition to smoothies in the morning.

      Trevor Holness is also offering up something unique with the first Canadian franchise of BikeCaffe, a coffee shop attached to a bicycle. The cart will be set up outside the Olympic Village Canada Line Station.

      Holness noted the concept was launched in Stratford-Upon-Avon in England.

      “These bikes are very versatile,” he said in an interview. “So you can choose to ride it around, but really to build up a customer base with coffee, you kind of have to be in the same spot, so that’s how I’m utilizing it, is in a spot where you wouldn’t normally be able to have a vehicle, but you can roll this thing right up there.”

      The 15 new carts will begin operations this month, according to the City of Vancouver, bringing the total of stationary food vendors in the city to 114. Another 15 carts are expected to be added next year.

      Robertson said the city consulted with the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association and the restaurant industry to establish the locations for the 15 new carts. Some business owners have voiced concerns about the expansion of food carts in the downtown core.

      Vision Vancouver councillor Heather Deal said the city has always intended to expand the program beyond downtown.

      “What we decided, and this has been in the plan from the very beginning, is that we would start downtown, where we knew we had lots and lots of pedestrian traffic, and then slowly move the program further out from the downtown core,” she told the Straight. “So this is still in the downtown peninsula, but not quite in the core.”

      The new food carts were chosen by a four-member panel and reviewed by Vancouver Coastal Health and the city’s engineering department.

      Comments

      6 Comments

      LMAO

      May 2, 2013 at 7:08pm

      O. My. God.

      Who the f**k cares! I am sick of VV photo ops on things of such little consequence.

      What the hell are we?? Coney !@#$% Island??

      Alan Layton

      May 2, 2013 at 10:59pm

      LMAO - you do realize that The Georgia Straight is an arts, culture and entertainment paper, don't you? They follow and report on stories like this. It's their job.

      Martin Dunphy

      May 3, 2013 at 12:29am

      Alan:

      Right you are. And you can throw news into that mix as well, please.

      Norm Singer

      May 3, 2013 at 11:15am

      Now we just need Beer and Wine Carts to go with these and we'll REALLY be into the 20th century (No hope for the 21st).

      cathy

      May 3, 2013 at 12:48pm

      Folks-walk, run or bike by these carts -better to spend your money at local farmers market's.
      You'll be a lot healthier and will be supporting those who really care about providing local good food!

      Food carts just spew garbage from their one time use plastic/paper containers...even if they say their containers are recyclable/biodegradable, most are just thrown away anyways.

      RUK

      May 3, 2013 at 1:47pm

      @Cathy

      Yes, but in the event that I didn't pack my farmer's market-packed lunch today, what do you suggest?