A hangover and a hankering for a bacon sandwich while camping near Squamish inspired one of the city's newest food trucks.
Pig on the Street is one of the winning street food vendors selected this year for 12 new stationary downtown spots. "It's basically like a posh bacon buttie," said Englishman Mark Cothey who owns the bacon-centric business with his wife Krissy Seymour. He doled out their bacon sandwiches and bourbon, bacon and caramel brownie bites outside city hall Monday as the city announced the new vendors.
Pig on the Street's upper crust "buttie" is wrapped with delicate flatbread. Variations include grilled halloumi cheese, arugula pesto and caramelized onions. They haven't returned to camping since their Westfalia van was painted an eye-catching pink with happy hogs peering through blades of grass.
Other successful applicants will sell perogies, seafood, burgers, French stew and sandwiches and El Salvadoran, Chinese, Thai, Indian and Japanese cuisine.
Most of the items are priced under $10. "Some do charge more but that depends on how much food you're getting," said Alan Rockett, the city's street activities co-ordinator. "Some of the portions are massive."
The new vendors are permitted to roll out May 1 and will be among the city's 103 stationary operators, including hot dog vendors. Another 20 food trucks roam city streets.
Kayti Coughlin, owner of the Slingers food truck that serves Italian-inspired cuisine, is relieved to shift from a roaming street food vending licence to a fixed spot. She applied for a stationary licence to be in the downtown core.
The park board plans to see three stationery vendors for Stanley, Queen Elizabeth and Vanier parks operating this summer. Permits will cost from $5,000 to $15,000. The city expanded its street food program in 2010 and plans to mete out up to 15 new spots per year over the next two years.
For the first time this year, food from potential vendors was taste tested. An initial 59 applications were narrowed down to 25 by the city's engineering department, Vancouver Coastal Health and an independent panel of judges who considered experience, readiness, quality and diversity of food, business plan, how much of the ingredients were locally sourced or organic and other environmental and sustainability considerations. Then a panel of 15, representing food services, hospitality, media, business associations, the public and city council, tasted the food, for 30 per cent of the applicants' score.
Small Business B.C. trained potential vendors on how to complete a business plan for the first time, this year. "We wanted to give that avenue to everyone so they all had equal footing," Rockett said. "Because at the end of the day, a business plan in this type of business is extremely important."
Not all applicants were happy with the selection process. According to his Facebook page, Jay Cho parked his Coma Food Truck for good last month after the Korean fusion business failed for the second time to snag a stationary licence. The disappointment came after a year of operating with a roaming licence. He again questioned the judging and complained about problems finding parking.
The city streamlined its applications this year and Rockett said it has received feedback that it requires too much information, so the forms could change for next year.
A street food vendors association, one of the few in North America, has formed in Vancouver and is consulting with the city.