By Adrian Lysenko
After three years of travelling the streets of Thunder Bay providing barbeque goodness to residents, the Barbecupid food truck has decided to settle down. “I’ve been describing it lately as McDonald’s meets Tomlin,” says Mike Belisle, owner of Barbecupid. “It’s quick, messy, and you probably shouldn’t eat it every day, but it’s done fresh from scratch with creativity and local ingredients.”
The idea for establishing a permanent location for the food truck was born out necessity, Belisle says. “Up until this point I’ve been running the truck out of my house. We’ve achieved great success doing so but as a result of the popularity of the truck, we have run into problems with storage space, cooking space, and any other kind of space you can think of.” At first Belisle was looking for a location that he could use as a prep kitchen, but when the old Mr. Sub space on Red River Road came up, he decided to make it open to the public and create a fast casual restaurant.
Menu items will include food truck favourites like the Memphis pig and Texas beef as well as newer items like a fried chicken sandwich and a falafel burger option for vegetarians. “We’re also going to add a few new sides like Buffalo fried cauliflower, roasted balsamic and feta potatoes, and mac and cheese,” Belisle says. “The plan is to keep the same skeleton of a menu but change up how they’re done each month.”
Belisle points out the move is an expansion, not a replacement, and the food truck will still be around in the warmer months. As for the location, he is very excited to be in downtown Port Arthur and notes how impressive the culinary scene in the city is. “Chef Andrew Stone really got me into the real food scene in this city… through Andrew I met Steve Simpson (Tomlin), Alan Rebello (El Tres), and Joe Sposato (Bight) who are absolutely killing it downtown along with everyone else,” he says. “What those guys are doing never disappoints and I think we’re really lucky to have a culinary scene that is world class.”
Barbecupid’s new location is on 209 Red River Road. Find them on Facebook for more information.