The trouble with food trucks

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Summer is the season of festivals and festival beget food trucks. Mobile vehicles vending various types of gourmet delicacies, such as German sausage, southern BBQ, or artisan hamburgers, prove there is a dish for everyone.

In Waterloo, food trucks haven’t been very common due to regional by-laws and expensive licensing fees. Up until 2014, a food truck licence was over $2000. It has since been reduced to $329. Additionally, approved spaces were limited, but have been increased in recent years.

For this summer, a few food trucks can be found in Kitchener on Monday nights or in Waterloo on Wednesdays. A full list of KW trucks can be found at www.kwfoodtrucks.ca.

I visited a few food trucks recently, and here are my overall thoughts: they’re too expensive.

Maybe it’s because I’m a student, maybe it’s because I’m trying to save my money at the moment, but in either case, a crepe for $9 is too much. This crepe, which I had at the Summer Lights festival from the Café du Monde Crêperie truck, was a regular dessert item. Called the “Cannoli crepe,” it contained sweet ricotta, strawberries, fruit puree, and whip cream. I won’t deny it was good, but it wasn’t $9 good. The only upside to price was that there was no tax.

Crepes shouldn’t be expensive. I don’t know the price of the ingredients used, but one batch of batter will make more than the initial investment. I know that these people are looking to make a profit, but I can’t get over this price. In my opinion, $7 would have been the perfect number.

A common theme among food trucks is the word “gourmet.” Thus Fo’Cheezy, the gourmet grilled cheese food truck, sounds like an oxymoron. Here is where my money issues get serious.

Fo'Cheezy serves every item with Cheetos. And not even name-brand Cheetos, we’re talking Humpty-Dumpty here. Additionally, all of the bread for their sandwiches is Wonderbread. I’m not a snob. I’m not saying I expect the best, locally sourced bread for a goddamn grilled cheese, but when you’re charging $6 for a regular, no additional ingredients, grilled cheese sandwich, I think we can all agree that’s overpriced.

I paid $10 for a grilled cheese sandwich with pulled pork, bacon, and coleslaw. It was very good, and knowing how expensive bacon is and the time that goes into making pulled pork, I can respect that $10 price. I’m not happy about it, but I can respect it. Again no tax, so that’s an upside I guess.

For the rest of the summer, I would recommend checking out one food truck. If anything, it’ll give you an idea of what’s out there. You’ll have the novelty of ordering and eating outside, maybe even while standing and talking with your friends about artisan street noodles.

After you’ve gone once, there is no need to go again. It truly is a “seen one, seen them all” kind of situation, since you can typically get the same food at similar prices at a sit-down restaurant. Overall, you can get more for your money at McDonalds or most places in the UW Plaza.

So, if you really, really wanted to try it out. Check out the food truck listing and go for the one that sounds the best. After that, save your money.

Café du Monde Crêperie: 3/5

Fo’Cheezy: 3/5

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