August 24, 2013 - 8:12 AM
KAMLOOPS – It's finally here, a selection of food trucks offering fresh food on street corners, in parking lots and in parks. With this selection comes a culture that up until this year had been greatly missing from Kamloops.
For many of those attending lunch at Cat and Joe's Pig Rig earlier this week the trend has been a long time coming. The excitement over fast and fresh food is building and it's easy to see why the southern barbecue truck has gained a nearly cult-like following since it began operating earlier this year.
Cathy Obertowich says it has been a balance to offer fresh, local food as quickly as possible, but there have been times when the lineups are so long people end up waiting upwards of an hour just to order.
“We're not fast food, we're fresh food,” she says. “Sometimes there's a wait time because we cook to order, nothing is premade.”
But people seem to appreciate that and some admit to travelling across the city to get a taste of the smoked meat the Pig Rig is becoming famous for. Many of the customers that stopped by for lunch on Monday admitted to having had a meal from the food truck at least once, though many come weekly.
Obertowich says they have many loyal customers, and that's part of what she loves about owning and operating a food truck.
“This is why we do it, the people,” she says following yet another customer stopping at the counter after finishing their meal to thank them for the wonderful food.
Obertowich, who was a nurse in her previous life, can be found running the order window and adding the finishing details to the meals (which are served in biodegrable containers) while partner Joe Thompson can usually be found running the smoker and the grill.
The duo has known each other much of their lives but coming together as a mixed family three years ago while Thompson was a trucker for a lumber company, didn't prepare them for up to 15 hours per day working together.
Even then they run in smooth harmony, most of the time, with the ability to know what the other is thinking without a sentence having to be finished. This helps in the tight space that is their office, kitchen and passion.
The noise of all the equipment, customers ordering and chatting alongside the truck couples with the traffic often barreling by to create a hectic work place. This is part of running a food truck though, according to Obertowich, and she wouldn't have it any other way.
While those stopping for lunch earlier this week share a love for the food the Pig Rig offers, many are excited at the prospect of more food trucks coming to the city and are surprised it's taken this long for food trucks to make their way to Kamloops.
Currently there are 15 mobile food concessions licensed with the city and most are an outlet of an established restaurant that caters specifically to special events or smokie carts, while only four food vendors were licensed with the city to make sales from a mobile vehicle. Cat and Joe's falls under this second category, alongside Bellringer Coffee, Samidges/Carrier Catering and Holy Crepe. Earlier this month Eats Amore joined the league of mobile food trucks, offering a mix of organic pasta and salads several days a week.
City licence inpsector Don Garrish says while it may seem like we have more food trucks in the city it is actually because of the type of businesses that are starting up are being more active.
“We have found this past year a couple of the more visible types of concessions have started,” Garrish says. “So it may seem like we have more, as these are very active businesses promoting their products in high traffic areas.
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