Will owner Graeme Smith of the hugely popular Gorilla Cheese get the new Toronto permit? "I'm 95% no right now. I'm keeping the remaining 5% open for somebody to convince me the program won't be a nightmare. It's already very difficult to find a parking spot in the core of Toronto, never mind finding two or three in a row to fit a food truck in those limited areas where we would be allowed. Circling a block dozens of times to wait for a spot to open will be infuriating, and there will be further problems when other trucks will be doing the exact same thing. I really hope this doesn't cause a potentially nasty and competitive environment amongst the trucks. To pay more than $5,000 for this frustration seems ludicrous to me. I can't help but feel like the program in Toronto was designed to fail, created only to appease the restaurants that buy into the myth that their business will be negatively affected."
So what exactly does this mean for the grilled cheese truck? "When it comes to Toronto services, I'll keep doing what I've been doing; operating on private lots and at events and functions. I will take advantage of the ability to park in Green P and other parking lots as they become available, as well. Then again, the commute on the Gardiner may make me insane enough to give up Toronto all together! And, of course, I'll continue to serve my home of Hamilton, where the city has embraced food trucks and is running a very successful program."
If Smith had his way, what would he change about Toronto's street-food scene? "First thing I would change is the price. Even a city like New York only charges a fraction of what Toronto will charge for a permit. Also, I would have liked to have seen a more comprehensive program that allows trucks to reserve a spot for certain times, so the truck can book it and rest assured that it will be available to them when they show up for service. I also would have reduced the distance we can operate in relation to restaurants and eliminated the ability of BIA (Business Improvement Associations) to arbitrarily ban us from their territories".