Al fresco tacos, sidewalk smokies and chicken wings on the avenue will all have to wait.
Winnipeg's frosty spring temperatures have stalled the 2013 food truck season and put the city's 15 or so mobile restaurants on ice, for now.
"The weather's just not letting us get out," says Roddy Seradilla, owner of Pimp My Rice, a Filipino food truck. Temperatures of 15˚C or warmer are ideal conditions for "truck people," he says. At 10˚C, it's possible to hit the streets but it has to be "pure sun and no wind," otherwise it can even get too cold for staff inside the truck, says Seradilla, who hopes to hit the streets in a week.
Jorge Torres, a university student and owner of El Torrito, is itching to hit Winnipeg streets in his food truck to earn his tuition. (Robin Summerfield)
"It's been a rough start but I know it's not going to last," adds Jorge Torres, owner of El Torrito.
Torres actually took his truck out on April 25 for his first taco run of the season. "It was cold," he says. And business wasn't bustling.
The latest dusting of snow and unseasonal spring temperatures in Winnipeg haven't helped. "Just the idea of snow outside make you want to stay inside," Torres says.
Last year, food truck hit the roads in March and stayed on the road until October. This year, it will be mid-or-late-May before many trucks start the season. That reality hasn't dampened everyone's spirits.
"Maybe we'll be working until December--who knows?" says Mark Langtry, owner of Habanero Sombrero, a new taco truck.
Food-truck newbie Vilai Pinasouc will roll out Vilai's Spice Box for the first time May 15. The recent Red River College culinary arts graduate will sell her Asian-influenced street food year round, whatever the weather, she says.
Meanwhile, competition for customers and prime parking spots will be tight in 2013. In 2012, about five new food trucks and trailers cruised city streets. So far in 2013, Vilai's Spice Box, Habanero Sombrero and On a Roll will join Winnipeg's burgeoning food-truck fleet.
But for now weather is the enemy, not the competition.