Commercial Drive's new food truck brings change to street and neighborhood

In Vancouver it’s easy to see the big changes. Looking out over the city, new condos reshape the skyline, and as more and more glass and steel are injected in, its easy to feel swept up by the speed of development. To feel like everything familiar is being inexorably altered. But change in Vancouver is not always on such a large scale. In case of Commercial Drive’s new food truck, change is on street level and on wheels.

The scene: Grandview Park on a sunny Monday. The clatter of the Bike polo players mixes with the cries of children and parents in the playground and, meeting the guitars and drums of the hipsters and pot smokers lying on the grass, creates a pleasant hum.

Between the ever-present poverty and drug addiction, deep European roots and an entrenched alternative scene, Commercial Drive acts as a meeting point of sorts for all of these groups, and results in a strong street culture. Buskers play in the background as people spill out of coffee shops and restaurants onto patios and the sidewalk and give the street a festive, laid back atmosphere. Even on a Monday.

Daily Catch Co-owners Dylan McCulloch and Ryan Johnson hope to add another component to this atmosphere by offering those people in the park something to enjoy with their Daily Catch food truck.

Offering 100% sustainable seafood products from their Daily Catch Seafood Store on the street, the pair opened Commercial Drive’s first food truck in February of this year. McCulloch admits that there were “growing pains” when they first opened.

“All these trucks run on a generator to supply their power, and the original generator that we got was quite loud”, he says, but he remedied this quickly by buying a new generator. He’s also felt “dislike” from local café’s and restaurants. “But I think they’re starting to warm up to us now. They were intimidated at first and now they’re warming up to us realizing that the truck does actually attract a lot of business down to the drive that wasn’t coming down here previously.”

 Food Truck Fame

The attraction of people from out of the neighborhood is an effect of the growing food truck phenomenon in Vancouver. Since 2010 Vancouver has been unleashing more and varied street food vendors onto the streets as part of a 2008 motion for more street food options in the city.

Vancouver mainstay Japadog now has competition from options like contemporary Asian cuisine truck Le Tigre, and portable fired pizza from Pazza Rella Pizza.

And with limited supply and the trucks using social media to broadcast their location, food trucks like the Daily Catch bring out large numbers of Vancouver’s resident foodies from all corners of the city to enjoy their fare.

After a successful trail run in 2010, the city licensed 91 trucks on the streets as of 2011, and aims to have 150 by 2016. With the popularity of events like January’s Street Food City II and Vancouver being named as one of the top five cities in North America for street food, it would seem that not only are Vancouverites loving the new free form dining option, but have definite cause to.

 "I'm not buying it!"

Back on Commercial Drive, McCulloch says he has found to his Daily Catch food truck “extremely positive,” and many of the residents of the Drive are excited about what they see as a more “Drive” dining option.

“I think its marvelous!” said local resident Em Wong. “The whole thing that you just get food out of a truck and eat it where ever you can find a spot is exactly what the Drive is and what the park is. Just free, happy, chill vibes.”

But older residents of the neighborhood are not so sure. Half a block down the street from Grandview Park, inside Abruzzo Cappuccino Bar, not much changes.

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