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Mobile mountain kitchen is back feeding travellers on Coquihalla

The Lunch Bucket, a food and drink oasis halfway between Hope and Merritt on the Coquihalla Highway, opens for the season tomorrow, April 22, 2021.
The Lunch Bucket, a food and drink oasis halfway between Hope and Merritt on the Coquihalla Highway, opens for the season tomorrow, April 22, 2021.
Image Credit: Facebook/ The Lunch Bucket

A sure sign that spring is coming to the Coquihalla Highway is the annual opening of The Lunch Bucket food truck, a seasonal oasis located at the Zopkios brake check roughly halfway between Merritt and Hope.

Owner Jen Hepting is going to be back at the site for the summer starting Thursday, April 22, offering a wide range of comfort food to hungry highway travellers. This will the eighth season at the Zopkios brake check, which is 50 kilometres north of Hope and 60 km south of Merritt.

She is able to open on time this year in spite of the heavy high elevation snowfall on the Coquihalla.

“There’s still a lot of snowpack up there, a lot more than usual. YRB Road Maintenance did a great job of clearing things up so we could get in there right away,” she says.

Located at the top of the snowshed hill, Hepting says the Ministry of Transport has been an integral component in allowing her to set up at the brake check, where truckers are mandated to stop and check their brakes.

It’s an ideal location for long haul truckers to get a bite to eat without losing a lot of time leaving the highway. Hepting also finds a steady clientele through the summer months from members of the general travelling public, and hikers using the nearby Coquihalla Recreational Area.

She says it has been difficult hiring workers due to the remote location.

“It always has been difficult getting help but more so with COVID-19," Hepting says. "Every year we’re able to get a couple of good people and get through it. I work long hours."

The Lunch Bucket is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, and 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on weekends.


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