Page 24 - 04-June-2024
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  “We want to blend together French tradition with Canadian culture to make a home here.” — Anthony Cucchiara
Cucchiara has experience with Marriott Hotels and pastry maker, Ladurée. The staff who run the front counter exude open-heartedness and the group fosters community among neighbours and artists who have made it an informal gathering place for coffee and pastry. The cafe has recently launched a Polaroid campaign, in which customers are photographed, with a plan to create an art installation using those images.
The menu features hazelnut-choco-
late brioche, gourmet egg bites, quiche Lorraine, cream puffs, mille-feuille, cakes, tarts and croissants. The writer’s personal recommendation is the French Roll, a rolled croissant dough garnished with custard, dipped in icing sugar and paired with black French press coffee.
Another farmers’ market vendor has recently opened up a storefront shop.
The Dining Car Cafe is located on the main floor of the CN Tower. Jon Comeau started with smaller food projects like Woahnuts, waffle-doughnuts that he
sold at markets around the city. Comeau also started the Preserve food truck.
And he paired up with Adam Stoyko to create Wafflebird, serving chicken and waffles, and fried chicken sandwiches in a take-out shop behind Whyte Avenue.
It’s been a lot of work, jumping between locations and starting their latest venture, a collaboration with Tabletop Games on 124th Street. Diced is a place where the pair hopes to really experiment with food and cocktails.
Comeau’s favourite food project so far was Preserve, which he took to festivals, markets and private events, and in the winter he took over catering and concession
services at the Jasper Place Curling Club (pro tip: food truck workers have taken over curling kitchens, so the food is
often great). “The camaraderie between food trucks is like nothing else,” he says. “When you’re in the weeds with a couple other trucks on a hot day trying to feed all those people, there’s nothing like it. Those are the guys you bond with.” He compares it to those Friday night shifts serving at a family restaurant in his college days.
Each location has its own character and menu. The Dining Car Cafe is a simple lunch spot with fresh-made sand- wiches, snacks and coffee. It features one homemade entrée daily. Wafflebird riffs on chicken and waffles and fried chick-
en sandwiches on brioche. It’s currently takeout only, with plans to relocate to a full-seating location just off Whyte Avenue later this year.
From careful beginnings with low overhead and small staff, these entrepre- neurs have been able to scale up slowly and thoughtfully to create thriving brick-and-mortar businesses. Their journeys have been rocky at times, and Comeau says the permanent spot provides both a regular cash flow — and peace of mind. “The food truck world is a bit wild west — you basially show up and hope it doesn’t rain,” he laughs. “The big difference between that and a brick-and-mortar is consistency. You get to know the customers more, and if it’s a slow day, it doesn’t ruin my life.” ED.
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