Gabby Peyton: Johnny and May’s third food truck dispenses a new blend of delicious flavors

Street. JOHN’S, NL – For some reason, meals on the wheels confuse bureaucrats and civilian lawmakers.

Across Canada, food trucks have been met with nothing but red tape and frustrating regulations, despite their rising popularity over the past decade.

When Noriki Tamura immigrated from Japan to Vancouver in 2005 and tried to open a food truck, he was met with outdated bylaws that meant he could only serve sausage from a cart. The result is the now famous (and delicious) Japadog. In Montreal, owners of Grumman’s ’78 fought city council for more than three years in early 2010 to overturn a 100-year-old law that prohibited street food vendors from selling.

Here in St John, it’s no better. To the chagrin of hungry customers on the go, the rules regarding mobile food vendors are shockingly outdated and trucks are not allowed to be sold in public.

This is why almost all food trucks in town are privately owned (in recent years, churches have been the most accommodating).

Currently, there are only five designated public car parks in the city center and one in Churchill Square for mobile vendors. They cost $3,000 and $1,500, respectively, and that doesn’t include expensive permits and licensing fees.

Let’s just say it’s extravagant.

Johnny & Mae’s food cart pho burger blends Vietnamese flavors with an American-style smashburger. – Gabi Peyton pictures

In previous generations, food trucks were associated with being cheap and fast. Fried fish, fries and a quick burger was the name of the game. But in the past five years or so, this has changed drastically. Besides the cell phone fleet, there are trucks that pump out meals that you can enjoy at any restaurant.

And food trucks are not only a means of entering the dining scene, but also a way of life. Alicia and Kyle McKenna, owners of Johnny & Mae’s, have made a living for the past three years serving burgers and fries from their food trucks and opened their third at The Wharf in Quidi Vidi in mid-June.


In previous generations, food trucks were associated with being cheap and fast. Fried fish, fries and a quick burger was the name of the game. But in the past five years or so, this has changed drastically. Besides the cell phone fleet, there are trucks that pump out meals that you can enjoy at any restaurant.


I’ve been following Chef Kyle and his wife Alicia for years on social media, watching them run their food trucks through the summer, then spend the winter in Vietnam collecting piles of noodles, devouring soup and drying chili. I’ve always wondered where are the flavors of Southeast Asia that I know he can cook up?

Well, now it can be found at The Wharf.

the meal

Last Sunday my husband and I climbed the Sugar Loaf Trail and were eager to visit The Wharf in Quidi Vidi (the former parking lot, now a beer garden with food trucks in The Gut). We chose Johnny and Mae for lunch.

On the spot, I opted for the Brisket Perry Red Curry Taco ($22) with the melt-in-your-mouth red curry braised breast meat, cheddar cheese, white onion and cilantro served with a cup of the Coconut Peri red curry to dip the tacos in.

I’ve had cheddar with red curry, but somehow it worked. The saltiness of cheddar cooperates well with the spicy curry.

My husband chose the pho burger ($18) with two pieces of mashed patties topped with fish aioli, shaved white onion, Monterey Jack cheese, pickled chili, crunchy onions and a side of pho broth for dipping. It was like American Vietnamese beef, and the funky herbal flavors of this burger caused my hair to come back.

The pho broth alone made me pine for a huge bowl of delicious Vietnamese soup.

The wild red curry tacos from Johnny and May's food cart at The Wharf at Quidi Vidi melt in your mouth.  - Gabi Peyton pictures
The wild red curry tacos from Johnny and May’s food cart at The Wharf at Quidi Vidi melt in your mouth. – Gabi Peyton pictures

Makina’s clever interplay of Asian flavors and comfort fried foods is new and exciting. Johnny & Mae’s continues to thrill my gastronomic palates with chicken fingers, fries, and burgers, but – I hesitate to use the word – it’s the fusion that sets their dishes apart from the fleet of food trucks across town. Mexican tacos are topped with Thai curry, American burgers get a dose of Vietnamese herbs, and fried chicken sandwiches get the South Asian treat with tamarind and peanuts.

We washed down our food with two pints of Landwash ($8 each) and ate in the beer garden section. It’s worth noting that at The Wharf, most picnic tables are in the Landwash beer garden section which you can only access if you are over 19 years old. Enjoy a meal with their kids.

Pay for quality

One last thought before comments are raised in the comments section about meal prices. I’ve surveyed other rental food trucks The Wharf – Quidi Vidi Fish and Chips (aka QVFC) and Cojones Food Truck – and they also cost between $15 and $20 for their dishes.

Customers need to understand that you’re paying for high-quality ingredients and innovative dishes, no matter where you eat them – whether at a picnic table on the quayside or in a brick-and-mortar restaurant. a period.

Johnny and Mae leaned into Asian culinary experiments and depth of flavor offering fresh blends of flavors that will surely excite the palate.

Keep trucking Johnny and May and Chef Kyle – I beg you, give me a bowl of pho.

the details

Site:
The Wharf at Koede Vidi
15 Barrows Street No. 11
St John NL
A1A 1G8

hours:
Daily: 12-9 pm

Accessibility:
There is only one accessible toilet, but loose pebbles across The Wharf may make it difficult for some mobility aids. Seating is picnic tables.

noise level:
Average

Get out:
yes

Reservations:
Unavailable

cost:
Meals for two with two beers and tip: $68


Gabe Peyton is a freelance food writer based in St. John’s. You can reach her via email at [email protected] Or via Twitter and Instagram @gabbypeytoneats.

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