The colorful story of the world’s northernmost taco truck in just a couple short months of existence had some extra spice added this week when it was suddenly shut down indefinitely because it was no longer welcome at its must-visited site next to Longyearbyen’s main shopping center. But the indigestion was short-lived for the truck’s owner and fans, as it is being allowed to relocate from Lompensenteret to the outside of Svalbardbutikken a mere few meters away.
“We still need to wait for (our own) power installation so we can hopefully re open again next weekend,” owner Andreas Styrsell wrote Friday in a Friday post on the Facebook page of his business, Tio Moncho’s. “Thank you all for the e-mails, phone calls, messages, etc. and for all your help!”
Styrsell has been parking outside the mall where Karlsberger Pub is located, making it a popular weekend hub when combined with a potato/sausage food truck next to the supermarket and Stationen restaurant inside the center next to the pub. But the Olav Thon Group, which owns the mall, ordered the taco truck to move due to issues with the vehicle’s electrical hookup to the building.
News of the ouster prompted some residents to speculate Karlsberger and Stationen, who have the same owners, didn’t want the food truck as competition for the sit-down establishments. Steve Daldorff Torgersen, manager and an owner at both locations, emphasized in a reply to Styrsell’s Facebook post that isn’t the case.
“I personally think a lot of people here should be careful to draw conclusions, without having any understanding of facts,” Torgersen wrote. “This could hit someone who doesn’t deserve this at all. From Karlsberger’s and Stationen’s side we have a good collaboration with Tio Moncho’s, and we are working on this for the good of everyone. This isn’t about competition at all. But more about a rigid system of power and connections on the landlord’s part.”
Styrsell is generally operating the custom-decorated truck from Sweden on Wednesdays through Sundays of each week. He is also operating it at various other locations during regular and special community events, such as the weekly night clubs at Huset, the Dark Season Blues festival and an outdoor snowmobile showcase by dealers near the edge of town this weekend.