Montreal food trucks gear up for 2015 season
Grumman 78, Duck Truck, Pyza, Traiteur Guru, Bol Burrito Queen B and friends hit Montreal streets
For those who like food trucks, the first Fridays of Montreal's warmer months are good days.
A few dozen food trucks from all over the Montreal region assembled on the esplanade of the Olympic Stadium for their first First Friday of the season.
Hockey fans chowed down on snacks while watching the Canadiens take on the Lightning on a large screen in the first game of Round 2 of the playoffs.
"It's important — really important," said Grumman 78 food truck co-owner Gaëlle Cerf, referring to the the hockey game.
The instantly recognizable lime-green Grumman 78 truck was among the first to kick off Montreal's food truck renaissance. This year marks five years since they began serving up gourmet tacos out of the truck.
Cerf, who is also the vice-president of the Quebec Street Food Association (QSFA), said she's pleased to see how food trucks and the First Fridays food truck parties have grown in popularity.
"We're super enthusiastic for sure, but busy," said Cerf.
There were some new faces — and trucks — on Friday at the Big O.
Bol Burrito Queen B
After helping with the Phoenix food truck last year, Laurence Berkani wanted to open up a new truck of her own.
With Bol Burrito Queen B, she and her staff serve up Mexican-Lebanese dishes, often in a burrito bowl that Berkani says is easier to eat on the go compared to a genuine burrito.
Getting the truck ready for May 1 was a major challenge, she says, laughing.
"We're crazy. You have to passionate and crazy to pull it off," Berkani says.
Suavek Krupap came to Montreal in 2001 with his mother Jagoda Krupap.
Before coming to Montreal, their family had owned and operated a restaurant in Warsaw. A few years after arriving in Quebec, they set up shop on Amherst Street, serving Polish food at Euro Polonia.
"We became very popular very fast," said Suavek Krupap.
The kitchen closed its downtown location in 2013 and moved to its current location in LaSalle, where it became Pyza. The mission was clear.
"It's almost impossible to find handmade pierogis," said Suavek.
The Krupaps offer traditional eastern European food including cheese and potato pierogi and a smoked and grilled sausage sandwich with sauerkraut.
Isabelle Pelletier knew she wanted to do something in the food industry, but knew she didn't want to open a restaurant.
"Rent was too expensive and it was difficult to make money," she says.
"My boyfriend thought what about a food truck and I said why not."
The waitress from Plateau restaurant Vertige partnered up with the restaurant's chef Thierry Baron to make it happen.
The truck serves duck-based meals.
To kick things off, the duo put together a small but powerful menu featuring the Le Villain sandwich, which features duck braised in porto, a quinoa salad and gazpacho.
"We need something special to grab people's attention," Pelletier says.
Amar Choudhri said he started catering with an Indian food company "just for fun."
For years, he set up a booth on Ste-Catherine Street and in the Old Port to sell his snacks, but it wasn't until 2012 that Choudhri began seriously contemplating why there was a dearth of quality Indian food in the city.
"People like Indian food but they have to go out all the way to Parc-Extension or other parts of the city to get food," he says. "So instead, I go to the foodies."
Choudhri likes to keep it simple with veggie veggie samosas, butter chicken and a refreshing mango slush.
"Response has been good. People love it," says Choudhri.