Toronto Street Food Project at Block Party
After seeing the crowds at this past month’s Street Food Block Party at the Evergreen Brickworks, who would still argue that the people of Toronto don’t want more street food? So what’s the hesitation? Red tape and city politics, of course.
Well that didn’t stop Food Truck Eats and the Toronto Underground Market (TUM) from organizing this street food block party. Bringing in over 3,000 eager eaters, 20 vendors and 11 food trucks, Block Party highlighted some of the best street food this city has to offer. Lines of foodies piled up behind their favorite vendors, craving everything from lobster rolls, tacos, fried ravioli, pulled pork sammies to chicken soulvaki and cupcakes. Vendors included TUM veterans like La Carnita and Fidel Gastro’s, seasoned food trucks like El Gastronomo and Toasted Tangerine and as well as newbies Buster’s Sea Cove and Buffalo based truck Roaming Buffalo.
Toronto Street Food Project members Darcy and Marianne talked with Toronto-Danforth Mary Fragedakis and Don Valley East Shelley Carroll city councillors about the importance of street food in the city.
In the recent months, I’ve had the privilege of working on this advocacy campaign focused on changing much of the arbitrary laws governing street food. Promoting the importance of a diverse culinary scene inclusive of street food in the city is the group’s priority. The Toronto Street Food Project advocates bringing delicious and diverse street food to the people of Toronto and supporting the independent entrepreneurs that want to cook it for them.
Block Party Guests infront of El Gastronomo
The event also gave the Toronto Street Food Project an opportunity to talk and survey some of the cities most enthusiastic eaters and city councillors about what they wanted to eat out on Toronto streets.
Apologies for the poor sound quality – impromptu interviews!
So what’s going on with street food in this city? Well last thursday, Councillor Josh Colle brought a proposed amendment to improve opportunities for mobile food and/or refreshment vending to the Licensing and Standards Committee at city hall. The amendment focused on “food cart, truck and refreshment vendors to be allowed to park and operate, for the purpose of serving food or refreshments, on licensed premises such as parking lots, provided they have acquired the necessary consent of the property owner and have met all appropriate health and food safety standards”. Parking lots in Toronto are prime location for many of the food trucks and vendors in the city. Steps forward to using them as viable locations for existing and new food trucks and carts, would allow more options for this growing and expand food sector. Councillor Peter Milczyn also urged the committee to move forward with the motion and look to other cities such as Portland for best practices. The committee voted to order a staff report inquiring on the issue. This motion also came only a couple of weeks before councillor Adam Vaughan, seconded by councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, brought a similar motion envisioning a bylaw change where food vendors would have the ability to rent spaces in parking lots for vending purposes.
Babi & Co serving up delicious curried chicken wings and pork satays
New vendors, pop up companies and trucks are literally popping up left and right centre these days. And it doesn’t look like it will let down anytime soon. Having city policy that works in tandem with these small (and rapidly growing) businesses and supports street food, will truly let the culinary diversity of the city flourish. Fingers crossed for next month when the Licensing and Standards committee reviews recommendations to improve street food and bylaw amendments.
Cairo street eats
Kushari and Meatballs
Yummy chili cruller donuts from Dough by Rachelle
More chocolatey goodness from Dough By Rachelle
Another big hit of the night – Mason jarred cakes by Sullivan and Bleeker
Kalofagas Chicken Soulvaki pita
Lobster Roll Madness from Buster Sea Cove
Fried Sardines from Buster Sea Cove
For more pictures of the event check out this gallery