Food-Truck & Pop-Up Eats in Prince Edward County 🌮
In addition to the traditional (and awesome!) brick and mortar restaurants in The County, in the last year a LOT of super talented chefs have been literally popping up all over the place, setting up food trucks or taking over kitchens. Trying to keep up with them is a little like playing a delicious game of whac-a-mole.
by Susan Smythe-Bishop of The Citiot
I just LOVE learning about these brave artists (and they are artists) who have chosen to leave city life behind and follow a different path. The fact that I really love food makes their stories even more intriguing, and the fact that you can literally watch their stories unfold through the magic of social media is fascinating to me.
There are a few that really make me step back and take hold of how lucky we are to be here for these delectable and fun surprises.
Rebecca was really one of the first “pop-ups” we encountered and got super excited about here in The County. While she’s focusing more on catering this year, she is still doing kitchen takeovers at the Midtown Brewing Co. and appearing occasionally at the Wellington Farmers’ Market.
During summer months, Idle Wild will be serving up its “adventurous & authentic ethnic” dishes at Sandbanks Winery through the week and occasionally at The Vic Cafe in conjunction with Cinefest showings at the Regent Theatre next door. Paul and Mel seem to follow wherever their inspiration takes them, with wildly different but consistently delicious menus every time they “pop up.”
Flossie’s Sandwiches sets up along the lake side of Wellington’s Farmers’ Market, drawing in the hungry masses with handmade sandwiches crafted from locally-sourced produce and artisan-cured meats. These are sandwiches made by true sandwich aficionados – many finished on the griddle so they’re hot and swaddled in melted cheese. Catch them on select evenings at the Vic Cafe patio outside the Picton Library.
Quick: what goes best with beer? Bingo! It’s barbecue. And at Barley Day’s Brewery, you’ll find Big Mike himself slinging some serious BBQ eats. This is Texas-style barbecue, featuring brisket, pork side ribs, pulled pork, fire-baked beans, maple-mustard coleslaw, cornbread, lemonade and ice tea. Bring a ‘kerchief for the meat sweats!
When you’re driving through The County and the concert calendar comes on 99.3 FM, that impossibly low, speaking-from-the-cellar voice listing off the live acts playing at The Waring House or County Canteen comes from Ras Bingi, chief cook and bottle washer at Bingi’s BBQ, where the smoker turns out impossibly soft jerk chicken, pork ribs, wings and curry, as well as vegetarian fare.
JERKabego will be serving its Caribbean/East Africa/South Asian flavours from its usual repurposed Winnebago on the Loyalist Parkway in Quinte West and at a new pop-up location at Prince Eddy’s Brewing Company, alongside the brewery’s beach volleyball court. Their jerk chicken is amazing – fall off the bone, smoked to perfection, just the right kick of spice – but their pulled pork, wings, brisket and veggie options are pretty delish too!
Sam from The Shore Oysters will be shucking at pop-ups all over The County, including the Agrarian Bistro, Parsons Brewing Company and Seedlings PEC. While the business’s name focuses on oysters, Sam specializes in all kinds of seafood. She also caters private events and is a pro at explaining how best to put an oyster knife into the shell and still emerge with all your limbs and digits.
Other pop-ups include Guapo’s Cantina, a taco-lover’s dream with inventive ingredients and eye-popping toppings. Find them this summer taking over the kitchen at Midtown Brewing Co, Sandbanks Winery and the Vic Cafe. They have a really tasty looking poutine, like supreme nachos, but all that goodness over french fries.
And from the couple who introduced Guapo’s comes Bottle Rocket Southern, a pop-up overlooking the vines (themselves overlooking the lake) at Keint-he Winery. Picture crisp fried chicken, thick mac ‘n cheese, po’boy sandwiches, gooey grilled cheese, pulled pork on a bun and creamy ribbons of red and green slaw. Mmmm….!
El Taco PEC wraps up a lot of beautiful things in their flour tortillas: carnitas, asparagus, mushrooms, sweet potato, pork belly, black bean, chickpeas. Like most food trucks and pop-ups, you need to follow them on Instagram to know where they’ll be when. We’ve found them at Kinsip, and Three Dog Winery.
Outlet Food Co. makes some damn delicious chicken – this winter they kept bellies full with their roasted chickens. Their jerk chicken wraps – deliciously embraced in heavenly roti – have become a fixture at festivals and the Wellington Market. But they also do some delightful things with oysters, pork belly and house-made sausages. Find them on the regular this summer at The June Motel for #FoodieFriday.
Mark’s County Chips is a classic chip truck and a popular place for fries, burgers and more. It was a fixture in the Picton Canadian Tire lot for many years, but it’s since moved over to Picton’s Lake Street, where there are plenty of tables and benches to enjoy the food while watching the beach-goers pick up their LCBO haul on their way to Sandbanks. Mark has a pretty extensive menu – beef burgers, chicken burgers, sausage, fish – and most items on the menu are less than $8.
And brand new to The County is Smokin’ Rednex, taking over the kitchen at the Stache on Main on weekends and popping up at wineries around The County throughout the summer. They specialize in Alabama-style slow smoked briskets and pulled pork, pork tacos, baked beans and mac ‘n cheese. Various winery staff have been known to drive for lunch wherever they are in The County, jonesing for their daily dose of that mac ‘n cheese!
Potentially the spiciest thing you’ll eat in PEC comes from Bajan Bites authentic Barbadian pepper sauce – which comes highly recommend on their #OhMyCodFishcakes. Order yours from their stand at the (Saturday) Wellington Farmers’ Market and gaze off into the blue horizon of Lake Ontario and you would swear you’re in the Caribbean. Keep an eye out for them popping up at local festivals, wineries, and The Vic Cafe.
And finally, it’s not a food truck, but it seems to have popped up all the same. Closson Chase has a great new sandwich shop just opened called The Swinery. Now you can pair a selection of their lovely wines with your choice of delicious pulled pork or brisket nestled in a golden brioche bun. They have a cheese sandwich made of decadent Fifth Town Buffalina Gouda as a vegetarian option too! Sit, sip and nosh on their new patio overlooking the vineyard.
With all these places to eat (and more!) you better come hungry to The County.