Winnipeg Meals Vehicles are getting ready for winter

Neither sleet nor snow nor wind chill will keep a small but hearty bunch of urban entrepreneurs off the city streets this winter.

Frozen water pipes? Well, that’s a whole different matter.

“The only thing that will stop us is the trucks or the (lack of) customers,” said Vilai Pinasouc, owner of Vilai’s Spice Box.

Vilai Pinasouc, owner of Vilai’s Spice Box, hopes to stay open all winter. (Robin Summerfield)Their food truck, which debuted in June, is one of several mobile restaurants in Winnipeg that want to stay open year round, no matter how cold and snowy it gets outside.

On A Roll and Tots Wheels, two more new food trucks on the city streets, will also remain open for operation.

For safety reasons, five vents and a front window in Vilai’s spice box must remain open at all times to allow air to circulate around propane-fueled devices, Pinasouc says.

A heater is already installed to prevent your water pipes from freezing. She will add two more to keep warm.

Brendan Orr and Kevin Hoban own the On A Roll food truck. (Robin Summerfield)Over at On A Roll, coworkers Brendan Orr and Kevin Hoban have a similar cold-fighting strategy.

The couple will keep themselves warm with “hoodies and space heaters,” Orr said. But they also have a secret weapon. You will be preparing soup and sandwiches in a new winter-proof trailer. The fully insulated trailer replaces the summer food truck.

Both Pinasouc and the On A Roll guys are hoping to increase the number of catering jobs and are offering pre-orders so customers can pick up their food quickly without waiting in the cold.

While the hearty ones promise to stay open, others have parked for the season.

The last day of the Red Ember is Saturday at the St. Norbert farmers’ market. Head chef and owner Steffan Zinn, also the new father of an 11-week-old son, is ready for a break.

But he already has plans for the summer of 2014. At his family’s farm south of Winnipeg, Zinn harvested over 2,800 pounds of tomatoes for his homemade pizza sauce. When everything is harvested and cooked, tin will have around 1,280 liters of sauce for the 2014 food truck season.

Pinasouc’s season doesn’t stop there, but it also sees Winnipeg winters realistically.

Will Vilais Spice Box stay on the road all winter? “That is my goal.” But does she think she can do it? “Realistic,” she said with a long pause, “I hope so.”

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