There's a new food truck in town and it came all the way from Mexico City. Okay, well maybe the actual truck didn't come from Mexico City, but the concept did.
The Linda Maria food truck is the brainchild of Christian Abelar (Maria is his mother's name and linda means beautiful in Spanish), who moved to Ottawa with his wife in 2019 when she was hired by Amazon to help launch their new order fulfillment centre in Carlsbad Springs.
|Christian Abelar and Duane Kruck are the co-owners of the Linda Maria food truck. FRED SHERWIN PHOTO
After the couple arrived, Christian began thinking about opening a Mexican restaurant in Orléans. After all, his family has been in the restaurant business in Mexico City for more than 15 year.
But when Christian started to do his research and found out how much it would cost to open a restaurant in Orléans from scratch, he knew he had to come up with an alternate plan. So together with his neighbour and business partner Duane Kruck, they came up with the concept for a food truck.
“The idea is to start with the food truck, build up a reputation and a following and then open up a restaurant,” says Abelar.
Judging by the first six weeks since they set up shop in the parking lot of what used to be the Randalls Decorating Centre at 2030 St. Joseph Blvd., the pair are already well underway to fulfilling their dream.
Thanks to the magic of social media, they had more than 60 customers on their open-ing day, and business hasn’t slowed down since.
Their ability to recreate traditional Mexican flavours in their tacos (both soft and fried) and nachos is an homage to Mexican street food that visitors to the Latin American country would appreciate.
I tried the shredded pork Pibi Taco, the Chicken Tinga Taco and the Crispy Chicken Taco and I was immediately teleported back to the streets of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato where I first discovered Mexican street food in the 1980s.
A good taco starts with an authentic gluten-free, corn tortilla which Abelar makes in-house. Next comes the filling and toppings and then one of three sauces or salsas, which are Abelar’s own recipes. I tried the fairly mild cilantro sauce on my Pibi Taco and the not-so-mild pineapple salsa on my Chicken Tinga Taco.
Finding the Linda Maria food truck is not very difficult. It’s painted black and festooned with dozens of vibrant flowers and Dia de Muertos skulls that were designed by a friend of Abelar’s in Mexico.
The hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday; and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. They are closed on Sunday and Monday.
For more information, you can visit their website at lindamaria.ca, or follow them on Facebook at facebook/lindamariafoodtruck.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of
our local business partners.)