Kenora welcomes roaming restaurants

The restaurant scene in Kenora is expanding to include four new food trucks.

Four food trucks set up shop on Kenora's harbourfront

Kenora's Jeff Kurz (centre) poses with a couple of hitch-hikers in front of his 1975 Winnebago food truck known as The Green Machine. (Jeff Kurz)

The restaurant scene in Kenora is expanding to include four new food trucks.

They're a common sight in bigger cities, but not yet in the northwest.

Even at first glance, people may not recognize Jeff Kurz’s classic 1975 Winnebago as a roaming restaurant.

This summer Kurz will park his truck — painted black with green flames on the sides — at Kenora's Harbourfront.

Vegan tacos will be one of The Green Machine's specialties. They will be served from Jeff Kurz's food truck on Kenora's waterfront. (Jeff Kurz)

"The main draw's going to be the tacos," he said. "I make homemade corn tortillas and, instead of a meat filling we're using organic brown rice and pinto beans."

Gourmet food trucks have become increasingly popular in cities like Toronto and Vancouver.

"Now these scenes are flourishing so I think it's great that … our small little community is trying to actually do something different," Kurz said.

"I just really want to show people that fast food can still be healthy and fun."

Food trucks on Kenora’s harbourfront:

  • The Green Machine
  • Ye Olde Chip Truck
  • Gropps Country Kitchen
  • On Deck Fries will be at the Discovery Centre

Ye Old Chip Truck is expanding to add another location, and they already have trucks at two other locations.

"I think it adds, if it's done correctly, a certain ambience to the streets and it adds that much more to a tourist attraction," said Terry Douglas, owner of the portable food trucks.

Thunder Bay bylaw manager Ron Bourret said most of the roughly 10 licensed street vendors in Thunder Bay are hot dog carts. He said he'd welcome higher-end additions.

"We've had a couple of inquiries at our front desk to do so and I sure hope people do," Bourret said. "It'd be nice to have that variety in the city."

If you can afford the equipment, a license to operate a food truck in Thunder Bay costs $150 dollars. Bourret said any licensed food trucks must be hitched at least 60 metres away from any other restaurant, and must clear the street by 11 p.m.

In Kenora, Kurz said he hopes people consider the food trucks appealing.

"I think it's the whole factor that you can stroll along outside [and] you're not really committed to going into a place," Kurz said. "You can sort of have a look from where you're standing and say ‘Hey that looks appealing.'"