Some Ottawa food trucks stay open through winter

Ottawa’s summer food truck boom is continuing during the winter, as some vendors elect to see how their product draws people during cold, snowy weather.

Location, menu are key to deciding whether to close, vendors say

Why some of Ottawa's new summer attractions chose to stay open in the winter. 2:53

Ottawa’s summer food truck boom is continuing during the winter, as some vendors elect to see how their product draws people during cold, snowy weather.

Leo Raguseo said he was opening his Pizza E Panini truck on the Rideau Canal for the first time this weekend, trying to lure wintertime skaters instead of summertime pedestrians.

“On the Canal, supposedly they see between 10,000 to 20,000 people per day,” he said.

“I'd honestly thought there'd be more traffic, but no, there's not.”

Raguseo, whose truck sat on Richmond Road in the summer, said the chance to open on the Canal gave him a location he believes will bring in enough customers to make business viable.

To start, he’s offering free samples to get the word out to skaters.

Less than half of Ottawa's trucks stay open

Changes to Ottawa’s food truck policy allowed 17 new vendors to open this summer, and while they had the option to stay open year-round, many chose to close during the winter.

Leo Raguseao of Pizza E Panini offers free samples on the Rideau Canal Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. (CBC)

The Street Food App, which tracks food truck hours and locations in seven cities, said Sunday 13 of the 29 Ottawa trucks they monitor have been open recently.

It doesn’t track smaller hot dog or fry carts, which were around in Ottawa before the field expanded.

Corey Sauve of Flapjack’s Pancake Shack, which recently opened in the Glebe, said vendors have to offer something unique for a winter opening to work.

“There is less foot traffic, but weather doesn't really matter to us,” he said.

“Pancakes are good when it's cold and pancakes are good when it’s hot out.”

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