First Look: Crossroads Diner, a ’50s-themed food truck
Toronto's mobile diner (Images: David Ort)
The flowers appear, the birds return and new food trucks open their service windows for the first time — these are the signs of spring in Toronto in 2013. Crossroads Diner is Toronto’s first food truck to launch this season, and it is offering an updated take on ’50s diner classics.
That means a menu that leads with a cheeseburger — the most popular choice when we stopped by for a recent lunch service in Scarborough — but that the ingredients are carefully sourced from ethically minded purveyors, such as The Butcher’s Son. In a reference to Pulp Fiction, the thin, griddled burger is called a Royale with Cheese ($8).
Truck owner David Gleeson says that a burger will be a constant on the menu — for the foreseeable future, at least — but that other options like the chicken Caesar ($8, with a brioche-crumb crusted chicken breast) will change occasionally. When we were there, vegetarians (a word that most ’50s diner operators had never heard) had the option of a quinoa salad (small $5, large $7) with confit tomatoes and feta cheese.
No diner meal is complete without a slice of pie, and appropriately for a mobile operation, the lemon curd option (the flavours will change) is a pie-in-a-glass ($4).
Gleeson hired Alan Usher (Rodney’s by Bay) as the truck’s chef. Both have experience working in kitchens (Gleeson spent time cooking in Ireland and Vancouver), but this will be their first time cooking in the small space of a food truck kitchen.
From conception to first service, the process took Gleeson almost a year. He carefully designed the wrap to evoke a ’50s diner theme, including photos of iconic stars Elvis Presley (who also has a grilled bacon, peanut butter and banana sandwich named after him on the menu, $5), Marilyn Monroe, Carrie Grant and Audrey Hepburn.
One of the modern aspects of the operation is the commitment to charitable giving: 10 per cent of profits from street sales will go to charities that support breast cancer research and awareness.
After a special event in Kitchener last weekend — the truck’s third service — Crossroads Diner is working on finding spots for regular lunch operations. Check Twitter to find out where it will be next.