June 19th, 2024

Food Truck Friday returns to Nikka Yuko

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on May 18, 2024.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Matthis Bruelheyde, owner of Vesano Pizza food truck, carries a pizza to the counter to be cut and packaged during the first Food Truck Friday of the year at the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden parking lot.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

Food Truck Friday at Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden has come back for the second year to give residents an opportunity to enjoy a meal outdoors every Friday for the next few months.

Eric Granson, marketing and events manager for Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, said they started Food Truck Friday last year in the RV section of their parking lot and will take place every Friday until Sept. 13 – with the exception of June 21 and July 19 while other events take place at Henderson Lake Park.

“We also have Domesticated Divas craft market as well, which has a bunch of locally produced crafts and people can sell their arts and crafts that they have inside the food truck parking lot,” said Granson.

He said last year the event helped them attract visitors to the garden while the food trucks were there. Granson explained they wanted to give visitors an opportunity to have some food while visiting the area, as they have many amenities in the garden, except a kitchen.

“We thought we would add that food component that we’re lacking in this location and add that sort of element to people to give them somewhere to walk around or explore after they’ve done having a meal,” said Granson.

One of the food trucks participating in the event is Vesano Pizza and owner Matthis Bruelheyde said he approached Nikka Yuko to ask if the event would take place again this year, and once he received the green light, he contacted multiple food truck owners to invite them to join him.

“It’s a very close community, we know all the owners, we have a list with all the emails and phone numbers, so we reached out at the beginning of the season, asked who would be interested in joining,” said Bruelheyde.

He said most food truck owners were open to the event because last year they had a great turn out most of the weeks.

 “I think it’s a great platform for everyone to promote their local business. It’s right next to the Main Street (Mayor Magrath), it has picnic tables, the garbage is near and everything else is available,” said Bruelheyde.

He explained that the event was originally offered through Tourism Lethbridge for the first two years but in different locations. First in their parking lot at the Visitor information centre, and then at the intersection of 3rd Avenue and Mayor Magrath, until last year when Nikka Yuko took over and offered them a spot in their parking lot.

“It’s a better location now in my opinion. It has more space for the trucks in the parking lot and there is also parking for others as well,” said Bruelheyde.

He said they will be there Fridays from noon until 8 p.m. giving residents an opportunity to enjoy lunch and dinner outdoors.

“Every week we have between 8 to 15 trucks, depends on the week. The weather is a little iffy today, but generally speaking I hope the next weeks it will improve and bring out more people,” said Bruelheyde.

When speaking about the amount of people they served last year, he said on a slow day they served around 1,000 people.

“And then up to 2,000 to 3,000 on busy days. The busiest weekend was probably the Street Wheelers weekend when we had lots of people sitting in the grass and people buying the food here as well right next to it,” said Bruelheyde.

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