A slice of Edmonton’s history has found new appreciation abroad in the United Kingdom.
Bob Vandal was born in the United Kingdom, but grew up in the Whyte Avenue area of Edmonton.
He has fond memories of visiting The Funky Pickle — an area mainstay that many people visited for a slice of pizza during lunch or after an evening out.
When The Funky Pickle shut down in 2015, Vandal remembers sitting inside a nearby pub and thinking: What if The Funky Pickle was reborn?
When he and his family moved to the Farnham in southern England, Vandal decided to bring a memory of home with them.
“So now, a kid from Whyte Avenue has got The Funky Pickle and we’re sitting just south of London,” Vandal laughed.
Vandal’s The Funky Pickle Co. Ltd. has no affiliation with the Whyte Avenue spot or its owners.
“The original owners have not sold or licensed to a third party. Any similarities are in name only,” reads a Facebook post from the original Funky Pickle.
“While we still have no immediate plans to open again, we’d like to caution anyone who might be misled by individuals operating under our ‘likeness’. Stay safe and we hope to see you all again one day.”
Vandal said the name was available, since the Edmonton business was a defunct company. His brand’s name is now trademarked in Europe.
“We grabbed it and we ran with it. We’ve done very well with it,” Vandal said.
Vandal said when his food truck hit the streets in 2019, he wanted to keep a local feel to things. Although they don’t have pizza, he’s introduced Canadian street food to the scene.
“People will notice the truck. All the graphics represent Alberta. We have the Oilers logo, the Calgary Flames logo. People know it’s an Alberta truck.”
The Old Strathcona Business Association’s Cheri Klassen said she’s excited to see local brands re-imagined abroad.
Klassen noted that reinvention can happen at home too. After moving in to the Old Strathcona neighbourhood, one café just got re-settled half a block away.
“Things that were Edmonton-born maybe are still here. Maybe they just come back in a different way,” Klassen said.