Winnipeg may have been late to the party, but in the spring of 2014 there are more food trucks setting up shop along major downtown streets than ever before.
"Last Friday we did 218 in two and a half hours, so almost 90 pizzas an hour,” said Steffan Zimm, owner of Red Ember pizza, North America’s largest food truck.
"We're standing in an old shipping container I believe — the last load was of Hankook Tires, car tires."
The annual price of a licence runs food truck and cart vendors $391, a spokesperson with the city said.
Right now there are 99 outdoor food carts and trucks, and 37 more are waiting on licenses
Broadway sees the most food truck action of all: 10 to 15 line the curbside on any given weekday.
"I think it's absolutely amazing," said Trina Tolchinsky, who works downtown and took in the trucks Thursday. "We've been waiting a very long winter to have this."
From Mexican to Middle-Eastern food, each truck has its own specialty.
"I got this massive chicken gyro ... super good," said one truck-goer. "We got the tot wheels … I think it was like a roasted chicken with cilantro and avocado," said another.
"How do you decide? I don’t know, whatever my stomach tells me," said Jeremy Pierce.
Vendors jockey for prime position
It’s a competitive racket for the vendors, jockeying for the best positions along downtown streets.
"Every morning it's kind of the battle against the cars parking and other food trucks parking," said Zimm.
Vendors said there is an unwritten understanding of who parks where.
In reality, it's every truck for itself.
As more trucks are approved, Barbie Huszka of Barbie and Gabi's food truck said the race is on.
"We had a big fight with the other trucks because we need this spot."
Back at the Red Ember, Zimm said he'd like to be able to purchase a spot from the city.
A spokesperson with the city said they have no plans to develop assigned parking for food trucks, but current bylaws stipulate that only food trucks may "re-meter as many times as they need/want throughout the day."
Zimm is confident his wood-fired pizza will keep the customers coming no matter where he parks.
"Your food does the talking. If you have good food, they'll come and find you."