Food trucks are as ubiquitous on the West Coast as rain and yoga pants, so it takes some unconventional thinking to stand out from the crowd. That's where Lynx Café comes in, a custom-made wooden cabin built right into the deck of an 18-foot flatbed trailer that will begin serving Pemberton this week. "We just wanted to bring a very different style of food trailer," said French native Emmanuel Blanc, who co-owns the truck with his wife, Aiko. "(Food trucks) kind of all look the same. Usually people make them into a cargo trailer or enclosed trailers, and people bring different styles of food and cooking, but the trailers themselves are usually a similar style. That's why we wanted to have something really different."
At first glance, Lynx Café looks like any other small yet rustic cabin you'd find dotting the mountain landscapes of B.C. But inside you'll find a commercial kitchen armed with a top-of-the-line espresso machine, a large-scale grinder for those Pemberton Valley Coffee Co. beans and a convection oven that will pump out made-from-scratch pastries, gourmet burgers, homemade fish and chips, and more.
"We'll do pastries in the morning to go with the coffees. We'll have breakfast burgers in the morning, and all sorts of turnovers, rolls, cinnamon buns, croissants and pain au chocolate," explained Blanc, who said the truck will likely have a rotating weekly food special and a full soup program come wintertime.
Almost a year in the making, building the 125-square-foot trailer required plenty of ingenuity and technical savvy to pull off.
"We went through a lot of construction discussions and it was a very interesting project, but very technical," said Blanc. "It looks very basic from the outside, like a little cabin, but to get the ventilation, the sinks and the water (installed) means it was a very interesting project. We got lots of support around us, and everyone is a builder in Pemberton — it was a very good place to get it built. There's been lots of people helping out, giving ideas and bringing materials."
Blanc and his wife bring a wealth of food industry experience to the table. Both natural nomads, they funded their travels in the past by working as baristas or in restaurants, a time Blanc hopes to draw upon at the café.
"I have a big background as a barista," he said. "I have been travelling around the world for 10 years and always worked in cafés. My first barista job was in New Zealand, a country where they take their coffee really seriously."
The couple has wanted to open their own business for "many years," and the original idea was to set up shop in Whistler — but the price of doing business there, as it is for so many emerging entrepreneurs, was too rich for their blood.
"We were trying to open something in Whistler and realized we were out of our league with the rent and everything," Blanc said. With little overhead and even less competition — Blanc said Lynx Café would be Pemberton's first full-time food truck — taking their concept 30 clicks down the highway only made sense.
"For a first business, (a food truck) is way cheaper to do than a brick and mortar restaurant or some place you have to rent," he noted. "The investment is way smaller and the risk is way smaller, too."
Last week Lynx Café had its soft opening for friends and family, and Blanc said the reaction so far has been great.
"We've already had a lot of very positive vibrations around the trailer," he said. "People are stoked to have a food trailer in Pemberton."
Lynx Café will set up four days a week at the Pemberton Visitor Centre and two days a week at Napa Auto Parts on Prospect Road. Stay tuned to the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/LynxCafe2016, for the truck's opening times and location.
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