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Food trucks prepare for return to Regina’s City Square Plaza

REGINA – Dustin Rapitta cannot wait to start barbecuing.

He calls himself the ‘pit master’ of Prairie Smoke and Spice, one of the Regina area food trucks that are making their return to the city within the next few days and weeks.

“It’s been a very long winter for everybody, but to us who love to smoke, and depend on the weather to smoke, it seems like an extra long winter,” said Rapitta.

“We’re pretty excited to get the pits fired up again, and get back out on (City Square Plaza).”

Technically, food trucks could already be up and running in Regina. A permit runs from January to December but cold weather has kept the vendors from venturing out.

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“We’ve started to issue permits, and we’re just waiting for the weather at this point,” said Chris Sale, the city’s downtown senior planner.

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With warmer temperatures on the way, the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District (RDBID) hopes the success from last year’s pilot project will continue in 2013.

“I think that just adds to the dynamic to our downtown and really shows how vibrant it can be,” said RDBID’s executive director Judith Veresuk. “There’s a lot of variety, a lot of people go to the food court, they go to the restaurants and the pubs and cafes, but the food trucks are just another option for them.”

For $500 food trucks can get a permit to vend throughout the city. If they want to come to City Square Plaza in the heart of downtown Regina, it is an additional $600 for the whole year. Last year there was no charge for that.

This is the second year of a two year pilot project for food trucks in Regina. At the end of the season the city will decide if it should continue to 2014 and beyond. Vendors hope they do.

“A lot of people said they don’t usually leave their offices for lunch, but this gave them an opportunity to come out and explore the trucks and spend some time in the park,” said Rapitta.

This year’s line up has even more variety, with the addition of trucks specializing in chicken and crepes.

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Sale said the city has talked about closing city square plaza to traffic while the trucks are around, but will take a “wait and see approach”.

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