Meals on wheels

Food truck sea­son is upon us once again

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY CAPE BRE­TON POST STAFF

They’re baaack!

A sure sign that the sea­sons have changed is the ar­rival of the neigh­bour­hood food truck.

From fries to gourmet burg­ers to deep fried cho­co­late bars, these rolling ven­dors of­fer cus­tomers a va­ri­ety of fare that can some­times change on the hour.

“I just want the cus­tomer to have a good ex­pe­ri­ence,” said John Maza­lin, owner/op­er­a­tor of the Syd­ney-based Patty Wagon.

This year’s marks his sixth year in op­er­a­tion and Maza­lin will be joined by Chef John McDuff who is promis­ing some unique sur­prises for pa­trons this sea­son.

“We will still be of­fer­ing our gourmet burg­ers but also we’ll be­ing do­ing some dif­fer­ent twists on pou­tine, sand­wiches and deserts,” said McDuff, who is mak­ing his first foray into food truck ser­vice af­ter a 30year ca­reer that took him from fast food to white glove ser­vice.

McDuff said a unique as­pect of food truck din­ing is the flex­i­bil­ity to change the menu from one day to the next.

“That can keep cus­tomers com­ing back as they won­der what changes are be­ing made daily,” he said.

“I’m ex­cited about this and look­ing for­ward to meet­ing the cus­tomer face-to-face which doesn’t hap­pen much when you are in a restau­rant kitchen,” he said.

It is that kind of per­sonal con­tact that Maza­lin said he very much en­joys.

“You get to me more hands on with the cus­tomer and I think that is an im­por­tant part of the food truck ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said, adding his op­er­a­tion will of­fi­cially open May 2.

Last year, there were 10 such oper­a­tions in Syd­ney alone, from the Ba­con Bus to Bee’s Knees to the Little Rollin Bistro and the long-serv­ing Fuzzy’s Fries.

Each ven­dor tries to of­fer some­thing dif­fer­ent from the other by cre­at­ing their own spe­cial­i­ties in a bid to keep cus­tomers com­ing back.

Another fea­ture of the food truck is its porta­bil­ity that al­lows the ven­dor to some­times change lo­ca­tions. Dur­ing the sum­mer fes­ti­val of Ac­tion Week, many of the lo­cal food truck ven­dors come to­gether in one lo­ca­tion for a roundup, al­low­ing cus­tomers a chance to try a little some­thing from ev­ery­one.

Maza­lin of­fers sev­eral rea­sons why he thinks food trucks have be­come so pop­u­lar.

He said cus­tomers don’t have to wait for a seat but rather just line up at a win­dow. Also, de­pend­ing where they live, they can eas­ily go out for walk and stop to buy a treat at such ven­dors.

Menu choices are also key, he said, not­ing food truck ven­dors are be­com­ing very cre­ative with their choice of­fer­ings that can give cus­tomers an op­por­tu­nity to dive into some new cui­sine at a rel­a­tively in­ex­pen­sive price.

CAPE BRE­TON POST PHOTO

John Maza­lin, left, owner/op­er­a­tor of The Patty Wagon, and Chef John McDuff are ready to go May 2 with the open­ing of the food truck op­er­a­tion. The pair is promis­ing some unique twists on this year’s menu of­fer­ings.

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