6080 McLeod Rd., Niagara Falls
Churros and coffee were a breakfast staple for Micaela Ingribelli when she lived in Argentina.
After the launch of her food truck, MJ Ingribelli, with her husband Joe in Niagara Falls in June 2020, churros and hot chocolate have become an essential for residents of the Cataract City and beyond.
The Ingribellis make their fried dough-hot beverage combo from scratch every Saturday morning in their roving kitchen. And the pairing, served Saturdays only, has become one of many calling cards for the couple’s venture born out of necessity in the midst of the pandemic.
“Our vision is to provide high quality food from a food truck,” Micaela said. “People think a food truck is fries and greasy food. No. This is still a proper kitchen. We can do so much more.”
Doing so much more was ultimately the inspiration that drove the couple to start a food truck. Joe, a cook for 30 years, and Micaela with her sales and event experience, had been working in a Niagara Falls hotel when the pandemic hit and they were laid off.
“We thought if we combine our loves, something will happen,” Micaela recalled.
Thoughts turned to a restaurant but the start-up and overhead costs on a food truck were easier to digest. Plus, the takeout-only model of business seemed virtually pandemic-proof.
The couple decided to buy two mobile kitchens: one for catering corporate events and the other, currently parked on McLeod Road at the Service Canada Centre, for lunch and early dinner service Monday to Saturday.
Their MO in both cases was to bring food to the people, given the challenges eating in restaurants the past two years, and with it, their passion for what they do.
“We feel love equals food and food equals love,” Micaela said. “We’re making something with our hands. There’s nothing better than that.”
All that labour turns into those Saturday morning churros. The rest of the week, there are substantial and satisfying panini, which dominate the menu, including MJ Ingribelli’s flagship chicken Parmesan.
There’s also the Canadian bacon loaded with peameal bacon, Swiss cheese, and tomatoes, and dressed with mayo and mustard. A classic turkey panino decked out with cranberry, Swiss cheese, fresh spinach and tomato, and a vegetarian version filled with roasted red peppers, mozzarella, tomato, spinach and tzatziki round out the sandwich offerings.
Hot dogs and sausage are offered, too. And on Fridays the couple dishes out fish and chips, the star being fresh haddock loin. All of it is available to in-person orders, by calling ahead or through delivery by Door Dash.
The menu has proven a crowd favourite. Still, the couple continue to take their cues from their customers. If someone is hungry for something, they’ll test recipes and try them on the menu.
Their efforts are revealed every Thursday with a new special but the same motivation behind it.
“We’re always thinking of new things we can bring to people. We do it because we enjoying changing it up,” Micaela said.
“You’re making people’s day better. Hopefully, with good food and conversation, we’re doing that.”
Author: Tiffany Mayer
Follow her on Instagram: @eatingniagara