Winnipeg weather stalls food truck season

Below normal temperatures, soggy streets and cloudy days have parked Winnipeg’s fleet of food trucks and trailers.
Roddy Seradilla of Pimp My Rice food truck is anxious to open for the season. (Robin Summerfield/CBC)
Below normal temperatures, soggy streets and cloudy days have parked Winnipeg’s fleet of food trucks and trailers.

While there have been infrequent sightings of one chip truck at Old Market Square, the majority of mobile kitchens are still parked as owners wait for the weather to warm up.

“Let’s put it this way, if it’s not raining we’re going,” said Darryl Crumb, chef and owner of Tot Wheels. Crumb hoped to be out Monday but drizzle and chilly temperatures have kept him parked for the time being. He’s itching to start his season.

This time last year the city’s food trucks were still parked save for a hearty few. A late-blooming spring was also to blame.

Roddy Seradilla, owner of Pimp my Rice was one of that daring bunch who hit the streets at the end of April last year. But a false start cost Seradilla $700 when he was forced to repair frozen water pipes on his truck after temperatures plummeted and snow fell. He won’t make that mistake again this year.

“I promise you it’s still going to snow. This week’s forecast is 1˚ or 2˚C. That’s still too close to zero. I’m not risking it,” Seradilla said. He hopes to have his Filipino eats truck out by mid-May but he’s not promising anything.

Meanwhile, Mark Langtry’s truck Habanero Sombrero is in neutral until the city warms up.

“We really want to get out there. It was an early winter and now this long spring has been hard. The waiting is hard,” he said.

Owners of the new Modern Taco Company food trailer hope to debut their mobile Mexican kitchen at the Teddy Bear’s Picnic on May 25 in Winnipeg. Owners bought the 1966 Airstream from a buyer in Chicago and have spent nearly a year restoring the exterior, outfitting it with a kitchen and adding a 10-foot-long extension to the back for propane tanks. (courtesy Modern Taco Company)
Winnipeg’s goofy temperatures and unpredictable climate haven’t deterred others from starting new food trucks. Modern Taco Company will roll out its new customized 1966 Airstream taco trailer in late May, owners predict. The 35-foot-long behemoth will be able to pump out about 300 tacos per hour at its peak, says co-owner Debra Ann Kaminsky.

“It’s actually bigger than our kitchen at our Academy location,” she said. Kaminsky and her partners bought the trailer in Chicago about a year ago and have completely restored the exterior and outfitted it with $100,000-plus in kitchen equipment. The trailer will be found at events and festivals rather than parked on downtown city streets, like most of the other local food trucks.

They are just putting the final touches on the truck and hope to open for business at the Teddy Bear’s Picnic on Sunday May 25.

Meanwhile, Pimp my Rice proprietor Roddy Seradilla will also bide his time until spring warms up and any chance of freezing is months and months away. He’s not worried about delaying his season.

“Once we’re out I’m pretty confident about the business we’ll do.”