Ray Magnuson sits at his food truck — Smoke and Sow — in Rotary Park in Whitehorse on May 24, 2018. Sites and tenants were confirmed at the April 10 city lottery as the mobile restaurants get ready for another summer season. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Whitehorse food trucks get ready to dole out summer servings

All but two city vendor sites are spoken for

Mobile food vendors are getting set for another summer season in Whitehorse.

Many familiar food trucks are returning to one of 10 public sites available through the summer, but at least one vendor back for the summer believes the city should make changes to the application process to secure those sites.

Eight tenants were confirmed at the April 10 city lottery for the spots. Food trucks that had the same spot last year had claimed five of those sites earlier.

Others were determined during the lottery, leaving just two that could be left empty. It’s not expected that will be the case though as Greg Stone, the city’s economic development officer, said he’s already heard from one potential tenant who missed the lottery deadline and is hoping to get a site when remaining spots become available over the counter.

Smoke and Sow chef/owner Raymond Magnuson, said he’s pleased to return to Rotary Park for the summer season, but he believes the city’s application process needs to be streamlined.

“The fact that I have to fill out the same form year after year with the same letter of intent, etc. is a bit ridiculous,” he said. “If nothing changes in the truck, why do you need a copy and pasted form with a different date?”

Magnuson went on to argue the city should give mobile food vendors more options to go where the crowds are, something that’s fairly common in larger cities.

“One of the best things about a food truck is you’re not stuck to a brick and mortar location,” he said.” We should have a little more freedom to move around.”

While Magnuson would prefer to roam with his truck more freely, he believes the two sites in Rotary Park are the best of what’s available in Whitehorse. For him it’s the only “worthwhile” site the city offers.

“Great parking, easy to find, great visibility to people driving by and amazing foot traffic with the SS Klondike being across the street and people using the park so regularly,” he explained.

Magnuson plans to open May 1 offering many of the same smoked meat dishes that were popular last year “with the hopes of throwing in some sneaky specials here and there. Think burnt ends, smoked chicken wings, etc.”

As was the case last year, Jazzy Street Eats will have the other spot in the park.

Meanwhile, on the wharf at the waterfront downtown, Alligator’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese is slated to return along with newcomer Pippi’s Doughnuts and Kit’s Kitchen, which was set up at one of the Steele Street sites last summer.

The corner of Steele Street and Third Avenue is slated for Garlic A-Go-Go, which is out and about operating on private property in the off-season, with newcomer -The Coffee Bar – securing one of the other four stalls available there.

Owner Jasmine Roush, who’s managed and served at many local coffee shops around town, said she’s been thinking about opening a coffee truck for nearly a decade. She decided to take the leap and start buying the equipment last spring.

“This business is a beverage business, focused on providing locally roasted espresso based drinks and locally crafted teas to the Yukon at both indoor and outdoor events,” she said. “I’m leaving food service to the pros of the nearby food trucks, but feel free to grab beverage while you wait.”

She said she’s pleased with how the application process has gone to secure a space for her coffee truck.

The two other sites on Steele Street weren’t claimed in the initial lottery, but as Stone said one prospective vendor has already expressed an interest.

Finally, a mainstay in the Whitehorse mobile food scene for many years, Patrick Singh has secured his usual spot to sell hot dogs, smokies and soft drinks at Third Avenue and Main Street.

Vendors can operate on the public sites they’ve secured from April 15 to Oct. 31, but must secure their development permit first.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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