Montreal, CAN: Go Go Espresso!

Photo: Dispatch Coffee: a mobile café in a refurbished mail truck (courtesy of Dispatch Coffee)

By Eve Thomas |

Photo: Dispatch Coffee: a mobile café in a refurbished mail truck (courtesy of Dispatch Coffee)

Dispatch Coffee is on a mission. Though the fate of food trucks in Montreal may be up in the air, Dispatch is figuring out how to bring their coffee to the people, wherever and whenever they want it.

Coffee is sourced seasonally from sustainable roasters (courtesy of Dispatch Coffee)

Last summer, barista-about-town Chrissy Durcak began delivering bottles of cold-brewed coffee by bicycle. After working at popular Mile End/Plateau hangouts like Café Névé and Sardine, she’d already been toying with the idea of starting her own coffee shop. So when she witnessed the demand for delivery first-hand, she hatched a plan: a café-on-wheels built into a Grumman mail truck.

“I designed the layout – it’s like a tiny coffee shop, with a wooden bar and stools – and pretty much built the whole thing with my dad,” says Durcak.

Next step was stocking the mobile café with supplies, including beans from trusted roasters who buy seasonally (“Coffee is at its peak about six months after harvest,” explains Durcak, “so Ethiopian is good right now, Peruvian in the summer”). Other offerings include organic tea and baked goods, from savoury scones to sticky buns, from local, small-batch suppliers.

The business has been booming despite one very important impediment: Thanks to former Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau, food trucks have been illegal here since 1947. While the gourmet grub-on-wheels movement has been growing exponentially in cities like Vancouver, Portland and New York, in Montreal, about a dozen food trucks dare to tread the line of the law, popping up at special events and festivals.

“The laws are definitely changing,” says Durcak, who regularly heads to City Hall for meetings on street food. “A lot of cities start with a pilot project, a few permits and zoned areas, and wait to see if there’s an uproar. In Montreal, it’s just a matter of time.”

Also on offer: baked goods, including whoopee pies, from local artisans (courtesy of Dispatch Coffee)

Just because food trucks aren’t completely street legal doesn’t mean business is slow. For the moment, you can follow Dispatch’s doings through their Facebook and twitter pages, and find info about hiring them for events and parties (with or sans truck). Currently, the business includes barista training, a pop-up shop on Van Horne and plans for whole bean home delivery in early 2013. Which all sounds just our speed.

Dispatch Cofee,, 514-229-5008, Facebook Twitter