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Saturday, July 13, 2024
‘I just want to make him proud:’ Cafe truck honours victim of Port Weller explosion
Natalia Sepúlveda-Lastra is getting ready to open Ryan's Lounge this Saturday. The truck can be found at 5 Peacock Bay in St. Catharines. (Somer Slobodian)
Natalia Sepúlveda-Lastra is getting ready to open Ryan's Lounge this Saturday. The truck can be found at 5 Peacock Bay in St. Catharines. (Somer Slobodian)

Natalia Sepúlveda-Lastra and her late fiancé’s dreams of opening a cafe truck are finally becoming a reality. 

Ryan’s Lounge cafe truck opens on June 3 in honour of Sepúlveda-Lastra’s late fiancé, Ryan Konkin, who died after an explosion at Ssonix Products 2010 Inc. in January. 

The truck’s home base will be at 5 Peacock Bay in St. Catharines, right around the corner from Happy Rolph’s and not far from the scene of the fatal explosion in Port Weller.

Along with hot and cold drinks, she’ll be offering baked goods made by Kiyomi’s Tea Shop

Sepúlveda-Lastra also hopes to bring the truck to events in the near future. 

The couple dreamed of running a cafe truck together and got their licence on Jan. 11. 

However, when Konkin went to work early the next day on Jan. 12 and opened the door, the building exploded. He later died in the hospital from severe burns. 

Thanks to a GoFundMe set up by Sepúlveda-Lastra and Konkin’s sister Nicole, they raised $17,000 and Sepúlveda-Lastra was able to fulfill their dream of opening the business. 

Sepúlveda-Lastra said she’s experiencing “nervous excitement.”

“This is something that Ryan and I talked about for so long,” she said.

“I just want to make him proud,” she added. 

Nicole Konkin told The Lake Report she’s proud of Sepúlveda-Lastra and how hard she’s worked to make this dream become a reality. 

“It means that Ryan’s name won’t be forgotten anytime soon, so that means the world,” she said. 

The truck is able to have a permanent location thanks to Josh Fine and Eleanor Pineau, owners of F1NE Cannabis Niagara, who reached out and offered a location to Sepúlveda-Lastra in front of their business.

Eleanor Pinea said it was the perfect opportunity — they wanted a cafe truck nearby since there are no coffee shops in the area and Sepúlveda-Lastra needed a location. 

This Saturday, the truck will operate from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be an open mic, food, and of course, hot and cold beverages. 

Regular hours will be 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Fridays will be 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The truck will be closed on Tuesdays. 

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