It’s not every day a food truck rubs shoulders, let alone beats out, the top restaurants in Canada to claim the title of best new restaurant.
But that’s what happened when Vij’s Railway Express, a mobile restaurant created by Vancouver-based and award winning chef Vikram Vij, won the People’s Choice award for Canada’s best new restaurant of 2013 in Air Canada’s enRoute Magazine today.
The restaurant-on-wheels was the only food truck nominated and competing amongst 34 top-rated restaurants across Canada (there were seven restaurants nominated from Vancouver).
“Everyone at Vij’s Railway Express is thrilled beyond words – we can’t thank people enough for voting for us,” says Vikram Vij.
Providing freshly-cooked Indian food, Vij’s Railway Express was up against some stiff competition. But before being able to take top honours, the rolling restaurant had to be nominated by a panel of judges, who are some of the nation’s leading professionals in the industry. The criteria? Each new restaurant had to be nominated by a judge and open their business between June 2012 and June 2013, with the final 35 nominees voted on by the public.
Vij’s Railway Express hit the streets of Vancouver in the summer of 2012 and since then, the truck has expanded into catering private events.
“It shows from a city council perspective that food trucks are a tremendous asset to the city of Vancouver and from the consumer perspective, it’s great that restaurant quality food is coming to the streets of Vancouver,” says Jason Apple from Gourmet Syndicate, the company behind the day-to-day running of the truck.
Another Vancouver restaurant also made enRroute Magazine’s Top 10 New Restaurant list, chosen by a food critic, and it’s’ a restaurant that has received as much attention inside as it has outside.
Pidgin restaurant opened its doors less than a year ago at 350 Carrall Street in Vancouver’s downtown east side and since then, it’s been the target of protests from people saying it’s a symbol of gentrification. The daily picketing never deterred the owner and the restaurant’s hard work has been recognized with a top 10 ranking in Canada.
Vegetarian hotspot Acorn on trendy Main Street also made the top 10.
Three Vancouver restaurants taking top honours will help in ensuring the city’s dining scene continues to be one of the best.
~ with files from Grace Ke