New summer food truck event fuels hopes for a Toronto street food revolution

New summer food truck event fuels hopes for a Toronto street food revolution

Niagara’s El Gastrónomo Vagabundo will be one of the trucks on site at the July 2 event (Image: Suresh Doss)

Steeltown might have beaten us to the food truck race, but three special events starting this summer are laying the groundwork for a decent street food culture in Toronto. Starting this July, Food Truck Eats will host food trucks and street food stalls featuring some top Toronto chefs in a bid to free up chefs from the substantial legal and health concerns associated with street-side operations. We caught up with Suresh Doss, the event’s organizer and the publisher of Spotlight Toronto, for the details.

Doss told us that his inspiration for the event stemmed from his travels to cities that have a vibrant street food culture, like Miami, as well as the developing scene in Niagara, Prince Edward County and Stratford. “It’s not just an abundance of food trucks [in these cities], but the scheduled meet-ups they had and the culture they have going on,” he says. “We already have some of the trucks [in Ontario], but they work on their own schedule, so it’s just trying to get them centrally located.” The response from city chefs, existing and upcoming vendors was so overwhelmingly positive that the single planned meet-up quickly ballooned into three, with up to 10 food trucks planned for the final event.

The first of the series will take place on July 2 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the back parking lot of the Distillery District. Trucks from Niagara (El Gastrónomo Vagabundo), Hamilton (Cupcake Diner, Gorilla Cheese) and Prince Edward County (Buddha Dog) will dish out their goods next to food stalls from chefs who liked the idea of street food but don’t have a truck, including Chris McDonald (Cava), Carl Heinrich and Ryan Donovan (Marben), caterer Rossy Earle and consultant chef Joshna Maharaj, as well as a dosa stand by Tiffinday, Stratford’s Simple Fish and Chips and Whitby barbecue powerhouse Buster Rhino’s. In a late-breaking addition, the Black Hoof’s Geoff Hopgood formerly of the Black Hoof, will also make an appearance. Entry is free and food will be priced at $5 or less.

The second and third events will be held at different locations in September and October respectively. “Not to criticize the à la Cart program,” Doss says, “but it’s like the street food culture doesn’t exist in Toronto. My goal is to see more and better gourmet street food—to elevate it. Hopefully the city can accommodate more of these trucks by relaxing the rules.” Although we fully appreciate the city’s hard-working hot dog slingers, we couldn’t agree more.

Updates can be found on #FoodTruckEats on Twitter.