Food Notes for October 11, 2021

Drift Food Truck Celebrates a Decade in Business

Drift Food Truck, which was among the handful of businesses that helped usher in the golden age of food trucks in Edmonton, just celebrated a decade in business.

Run by the husband and wife team of Nevin and Kara Fenske, Drift has built up a fan base ravenous for their sandwiches and seasoned fries over the years. They’ve been a fixture on the streets and at farmers’ markets since 2011, and though the Fenskes once had a brick and mortar of their own (Dovetail Delicatessen was open for about a year in 2015-16 on 124 Street), since 2017, they’ve made Shamrock Curling Club their home in the winter months.

Kara Fenske shared that this ten year milestone was reached with many ups and downs. “The high was definitely with the first five years, being at the forefront of our industry in Edmonton, helping other mobile entrepreneurs, and creating an awareness for the food truck industry,” said Fenske. “Losing our restaurant on 124 Street was a low, but not for long as it allowed us to analyze our vision for our company once again, and create a new path.”

After they retire their truck in the fall (lovingly referred to as “Drifty”), Drift offers a modified menu at the Shamrock in addition to continuing with catering engagements. “It has allowed us to have an affordable home base year round, as well as reaching a winter customer base, which we didn’t have the first 5-6 years,” said Fenske (this season, their Shamrock operation begins on October 12).

Despite the complementary success in the cooler months at Shamrock, every spring, Drift has had to find ways to stay current. “Since we aren’t open year-round in the truck, we do lose momentum,” said Fenske. “It can be tricky to try and predict the next season during the off-season.”

As with most hospitality businesses, Drift’s business was affected by the pandemic. The Shamrock was closed at times, while outdoor events have faced numerous restrictions over the last two years. In spite of the challenges, Drift was able to find some success. “One positive was that communities were really coming together to host small gatherings and getting to know their neighbours,” said Fenske. “Being creative in order to have outdoor-safe events was something that really shone the last 2 summers.”

In addition, Drift partnered with Uproot Food Collective last year to start selling their sauces, seasonings, and frozen prepared foods, including their popular fried chicken. With the ever-increasing appetite for local products to prepare at home, this may become Drift’s focus in the coming years. “We are currently in the process of building a production kitchen so that we can better keep up with the demand, expand more product offerings, as well as approach larger retailers with confidence,” said Fenske.

But for those concerned that their food truck may be permanently parked, Kara wants to reassure their fans. “Drifty isn’t going anywhere,” said Fenske. “You will see the truck out in the spring as always!”

COVID-19-related News

  • Food courts in Alberta have been able to participate in the Restrictions Exemption Program as of September 24, 2021.
  • Beaumont-based bakery Bake My Day failed to comply with the Restrictions Exemption Program, but remains open in spite of a visit from Alberta Health Services.
  • Without Papers Pizza in Calgary was issued numerous tickets and had its business and liquor licenses suspended for violating public health orders.

Openings

  • The second location of Gangnam and Coco Fried Chicken will open October 18, 2021 at 1109 Windermere Way SW.
  • Ghost kitchen Eat Food opened earlier this year, and is currently making sushi and Thai food for pick-up or delivery orders.

Closures

Local News

Urban Agriculture and Farming

What I Ate

  • We had take-out from Northern Chicken on Friday. All day, Emily was excited about the mac and cheese, and it delivered! We also tried the chicken fingers for the first time, and they were great (and huge!).
  • Northern Chicken

Take-out from Northern Chicken

  • We were able to enjoy the gift of a warm October weekend on the Dogpatch patio. Mack’s The Patch Benny was the better of the two dishes we tried (the Irish Boxty was a tad too doughy for my liking), but I would consider returning again, as the walk down into Riverdale is also one that we should do more often! We also picked up some goodies from the neighbouring Bread + Butter Bakery, including an absolutely delectable pumpkin loaf.
  • Dogpatch

The Patch Benny

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s