Campbellton — A tiny community in Restigouche County, N.B., has decided to charge Bangkok Food Truck more than the entire value of the city it’s parked in simply to serve their product on a temporary basis. Per hour, Campbellton is asking $500 — that’s about $500,000 for a single summer.
The food truck, which travels around the province dishing out hot and tasty Thai food, is a threat to the other five or so restaurants in Campellton, according to Mayor Stephanie Anglehart-Paulin.
“If we have the option of Thai food, who will go to Chez Wes or Chez Kim? These places serve lukewarm leftovers with off-brand watered-down pop,” she said. “And who will patronize Brasserie 1026? That bar is a total dive. Have you ever had their breakfast buffet? Jesus H… it’s depressing even to talk about. And the restaurant we’re all forgetting about is McDonald’s: how’s that place, which has become a pillar of the community, supposed to get by with a food truck stealing the show?
“Buy local,” she added solemnly.
Economists say Campbellton itself, a dying, stagnant excuse for a city, is not even worth $500K in its entirety. “We added up the value of everything in Campbellton, including people, homes, landmarks, businesses and even the potential revenue from those business over time, and it still only came to about 200 thousand bucks,” said Fredericton-based economics professor Ken Mersereau. “At this rate, the Bangkok folks might as well just buy the whole damn city and turn it into one giant food truck. It would be more lucrative.”
Mayor Anglehart-Paulin countered this, saying, “What?! We’re worth far more than that — the economists must have confused our numbers with those of St. Stephen.”
The Manatee spoke with the owner of Dixie Lee, the fish and chicken establishment where most Campbellton residents eat every day.
“I have noticed a drop-off in sales, yes,” lamented Renee LeBlanc. “Since Bangkok Food Truck started selling ‘fresh’ chicken that’s not soaked in an ungodly brine and battered in old-sock-smelling breading, many of my regular customers have started showing up only for dinner! They used to eat breakfast, lunch, and supper here. We’re going to have to start charging more, or adding Pad Thai to the menu… whatever that is.”
Bangkok Food Truck owners say Campbellton is so resistant to change and competition, owners of permanent restaurants have threatened them, telling them to leave — or to face even higher parking fees.
“We got an anonymous letter in broken English telling us to get out of Campbellton, or a certain group of people would ask the mayor to create an even stupider bylaw to get rid of us by force,” a cook told our reporter. “It was on Al’s Pizzeria stationery, though. Not too smart.”
Mayor Anglehart-Paulin suggested that the food truck simply up the prices of their cuisine so they can afford to pay the steep municipal fees.
“If the food is good, they can surely charge a few hundred dollars per dish. If not, maybe they weren’t up to snuff to begin with. Competition drives quality — that’s what I always say.”