Bud and Nancy True have been dishing up the best
fries from their chip wagon on
Spring Garden Road, just in front of the big library in downtown
Halifax. And they've been doing it for 32 years!
You can find them six days a week (they do take Sundays off) from
around 11 AM to 3ish during the "Summer" season which
actually starts for them any time after the start of April,
depending on the weather. And again, depending on the weather, ends
sometime in late October or later, if it's nice. They've been known
to be open as late as January, but not lately… too bad for us. The
winter months are spent travelling and relaxing.
Unlike many a chip wagon or restaurant, for that matter, Bud and
Nancy have been buying their potatoes in PEI from the same farmer,
David Dawson, for all these years. They peel them and cut them into
perfect fries. No bags of frozen fries for them!
The menu is brief: classic fries served in brown paper bags cut to
size or poutine. I'm a classic girl, just a little salt to
perfectly fried potatoes, hand cut preferred, and I'm in
fortunate enough to get invited into the "kitchen" to have a chat
while they worked at getting everything ready for the first
customers. First, I must say, the kitchen is so clean you could eat
off the floor, and the counters shine.
Six deep fryers are bubbling away and steaming once the potatoes
are added. It was awesome watching the ballet of Nancy preparing
the service side of the truck and Bud doing the cooking while we
have our chat and it all looked effortless. They're the perfect
example of team work when it works well. They both said you need to
find a good partner with the same sense of determination and
willing to really get involved in the day to day. And about the
work; the window opens around 11am but they've been busy since sun
up getting supplies ready and driving in from their home.
The window closes in mid afternoon, but they're still busy many
hours later: clean up and stocking takes a lot of work. And that
Sunday "off," there's shopping, peeling, cutting... The list is
endless, but we're all grateful they still do it all.
Bud and Nancy are actually from Ottawa where chip trucks are
commonplace, especially across the bridge in Hull, Quebec. He was
head of Revenue Canada's Graphics Department and she was the
secretary for the Canadian Yachting Association. But that life
wasn't for them, so they quit and travelled for a year and ended up
settling down. They came to the east coast, fell in love with Nova
Scotia and the rest is 32 years of history.
The best thing about Bud the Spud for them is the repeat customers.
Bud and Nancy know their names and their stories and now they're
into serving the third generation of customers, some of whom have
been gone from Halifax for years and come back looking for the chip
So the next time you're in town enjoy the best fries anywhere. Just
look for the long line, but don't worry, it moves quickly and is
well worth the wait.
Ruth Daniels is a food blogger and
cookbook author based in Atlantic Canada.
Posted: Fri, Oct 31 2008
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