As I was leaving Peasant Cookery in Winnipeg’s Exchange District on a late August afternoon, I noticed a brightly painted food truck across the street. Although I was incredibly full from lunch, I was curious about the food truck, since so often, food trucks can tell a lot about a city’s culture and its personalities.
Goldies Fries was plastered across the front of the truck on a street near Old Market Square and I was greeted by one of owner Darryl Leiman’s employees.
I soon learned that this truck was not the original, after in 2010, a crashwiped out his iconic hot dog truck that his father had owned, and he has run since 1988, costing him his livelihood. Now back in business, I heard his story and many others as I hung around the truck for awhile watching loyal customers come and go.
In his mid-fifties, he has the energy and spirit of a man much younger than his years. He proudly calls himself the “french fry guy” and apparently has nicknamed his truck ‘Betsy,’ regaling the days she starred in the 2004 Canadian television film Zeyda and the Hitman.
He says he’s happiest when he’s serving customers and sounded very proud when I asked him about his french fries, which are made from red potatoes grown by a Hutterite farm.
Somehow I ended up inside the truck talking to Darryl and one of his employees, talking to them (with camera rolling), while they were cooking fries, dogs, smokies, poutine, burgers and perogies, all of which he has listed on his business card, which is as brightly colored as his truck. It says Darryl (no last name): Homemade Fresh Cut Fries and everything else listed above across a yellow strip, with fries bursting upward from the yellow strip. Gotta love it.
Below is a video I shot of Darryl who tells his story and as he does, you’ll see his wonderful Manitoba personality come through. It’s hard not to fall in love with Darryl and his team. If you get to Winnipeg, PLEASE stop by and support him – order a hot dog with the works, some of his specialty fries and a perogie.
Other food trucks in Winnipeg include Roger LeBlue’s Lovey’s Kitchen on Wheels (KOW), an authentic southern barbeque truck, JT Springrolls, started by the godfather of the food truck movement in Winnipeg Tuan Tran, the Mexican El Torrito Taco Truck, and Beaujenas, a brightly emblazoned Bistro in a bus is painted to match a new mural that adorns their 302 Hamel street restaurant.