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Downtown street vendors return

Thandiwe Vela
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Yellowknifers heading outside for lunch this summer will be greeted by some familiar faces behind the city's downtown food trucks.

NNSL photo/graphic

Food vendor Gulen Gelale hands customer Bernie Bennett a sausage combo last Friday afternoon. - Thandiwe Vela/NNSL photo

One of a Thai, Wiseguy Foods, and Jevati Hotdogs are among the food vendors that have returned this year, to some fanfare.

"It's nice when it's sunny out and when we see this man," said Bernie Bennett, picking up a sausage combo at vendor Gulen Gelale's hotdog stand. "It's a good part of the summer."

In past years, Gelale, who said he has been vending in Yellowknife for 15 years, locked horns with the Chipman 1/4 Pound Fries truck for the location at the corner of Franklin Avenue and 50th Street, but the fries truck has not returned to the spot this year.

The taco trailer, which opened in the summer of 2010, has also not returned this year, after being put up for sale by its owners.

Back in the same spot for the second year is food vendor One of a Thai, which sets up shop in front of the Greenstone building for the lunch crowd, Monday to Friday.

This year One of a Thai will be serving dishes with three new different curries, including green curry, Panang curry, and Thai Massan curry, owner Sousanh Chanthalangsy told Yellowknifer.

"We want people to taste the different styles we have to offer," Chanthalangsy said.

Sandwich counter Wiseguy Foods also has new offerings this year, including the Piggie Smalls BLT with pulled pork on a cheese bun.

Owner Robin Wasicuna, who debuted Wiseguy Foods in the alley behind the former Yellowknife Artist Run Community Centre (ARCC) last year, was forced to seek out a new location this year, after the venue was torn down.

The vendor was invited to park his trailer next to the Abe Miller Building permanently, foregoing drink profits by selling food only, while clients of the Yellowknife Association for Community Living sell the beverages.

"It's kind of a trade-off," Wasicuna said. "They gave me a space to work and an opportunity to work with them for the summer, and the clients get to sell the beverages. We're working together."

Wasicuna's truck and eight by 20-foot trailer are too big to park on the street, he said, so he is grateful for the Abe Miller Building location.

"It's kinda nice for them to give me a spot like this, where I'm off the road, and still visible," he said. "Not behind a building."

The vendor, who became known last season for his double grilled cheese sandwich with a one-pound meat patty, also plans to install a stove this summer, he said, which will allow him to serve a full menu, including lighter and vegetarian options.

"I'm trying to branch out a bit more because I do appeal mostly to the carnivore," he said.

"I'm just really happy that we've had great weather to start the year and I hope it continues, and I hope a lot of people come and eat my food."

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