Mississauga food truck fans are in luck this weekend. Two different events happening at the Ramada Plaza Airport Hotel and Celebration Square will be featuring the popular specialty vehicles on Saturday.
Starting at 11 a.m., the Ramada Plaza Airport Hotel on Dixie Road will have five food trucks on site as part of its Redzone Endzone event celebrating this weekend’s Grey Cup.
Then at 7 p.m., Celebration Square on City Centre Drive will feature gourmet food trucks as part of its tree lighting ceremony.
Rome’n Chariot owner Johnny Verdile told YourMississaugaBiz.com he and his wife Theresa were excited to bring their food truck to events so close to home. “We love it,” said the local Italian resident. “We’re there in 15 to 20 minutes.”
In comparison, Verdile estimated he spends up to three hours in traffic for every round trip to downtown Toronto for a lunch event at a venue like the Sony Centre, where he was scheduled on Friday.
With increasing media coverage and shows like Eat St., food trucks have become a big business in cities like New York and San Francisco. They’re also now a major draw at local events like the Mississauga Waterfront Festival, Art at the Park and Food Truck Eats.
Major events can also generate hundreds of items sold for each food truck in attendance. Ramada officials said they expect 800 people to attend the Redzone Endzone event and Verdile said he was told 10,000 to 15,000 would be attending the tree-lighting ceremony.
However, Verdile said city bylaws make it extremely difficult for food trucks to operate in Mississauga, other than at special events. “Right now the longest we can be in a place is 20 minutes,” he said, “And it takes us at least an hour to set up and prep. We should be there for at least three hours.”
Verdile said it’s currently up to large organizations or groups like the Ramada Plaza to get these special permits. But he also thinks there is enough demand for a regular weekly or bi-weekly local set-up. “People like Whirlpool Canada and a few other places want us to come in order to serve them a great hot meal,” Verdile said. “Then they don’t have to leave their office and get in their cars and travel to a restaurant and eat fast food.”
“They’d love to be able to walk out of their building and go to some amazing trucks out there ready to serve the public.”