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Food truck ready to park

St. Albert's first will cater to Mediterranean and Canadian palates

By: Viola Pruss

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014 06:00 am

FOOD TRUCK – Ranya Abu Jaib (left), her son Dedo, brother A.J. and sister Toka will begin operating Dedo’s Food Truck in the parking lot of St. Albert’s Canadian Tire store on Thursday.
FOOD TRUCK – Ranya Abu Jaib (left), her son Dedo, brother A.J. and sister Toka will begin operating Dedo’s Food Truck in the parking lot of St. Albert’s Canadian Tire store on Thursday.
APRIL BARTLETT/St. Albert Gazette

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Opening soon

Dedo's Food Truck will officially open at Canadian Tire from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. on May 1. For more information go to dedosfoodtruck.com or search them on Facebook and Twitter.

St. Albert is getting its first food truck this week.

On Thursday, Dedo’s Food Truck will park in front of Canadian Tire and start serving fresh shawarma and other popular dishes.

The business had a rocky start, as the city has no laws related to food trucks. But owner Ranya Abu Jaib says her family is excited to bring a taste of their home, Syria, to the city.

“This is a really Mediterranean taste,” says Ranya. “Everything is from Syria, all the taste.”

Abu Jaib and her husband Tarek Selek didn’t start out as professional cooks. But they know their spices and how to manage a business, she says.

The couple left their native country when the war began and moved in with family in Malaysia. There, Tarek opened a Syrian restaurant with his brother before the family joined Ranya’s brother A.J. in Canada.

They were looking for a safe place to raise their son Dedo, the namesake for their new business venture, and found a home in St. Albert, she says.

In need of work, they didn’t like the risk associated with opening another restaurant.

“In a restaurant you would need people and your expenses would be very high,” she says. “But (with the food truck) you just buy everything at once and that’s it. And we get to work together.”

No laws for food trucks

Compared to its larger neighbour to the south, St. Albert doesn’t have any laws allowing food trucks to operate on city-owned land, she says. So the family had to find private property where it could operate, she says.

It took three months and many failed negotiations with property owners before they found a home in front of the Canadian Tire store. They could have gone to Edmonton but “decided to take the hard way and fight for St. Albert,” she laughs.

“We like it here so we are going to stay here.”

Come Thursday, the family will open daily from lunch to supper, serving shawarma and fatoush, a bread salad made from pita and mixed greens and vegetables.

All of their meat comes from Prairie Meats & Deli butcher shop in Akinsdale and D’Arcy’s Meat Market in Campbell Business Park and is AAA approved, she says.

The menu will also cater to the Canadian palate with fresh servings of Philly steak sandwiches and poutine, she says. And if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can get a poutine with shawarma and their “special” sauce, she says.

“We are going to be introducing a new poutine,” she says. “And we will be rotating (the menu) until we find out what people like.”

Dedo’s will be open from May until October.

The truck will also appear at local festivals, such as the Rainmaker Rodeo, and the farmers’ market. Depending on how well the business does, the family will even start catering their food, she says.

And Ranya hopes to sell her turnip pickles in jars, she says.

“But with all of this we want to see how the first week goes.”


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