Last semester, the University of New Haven brought a variety of food trucks to campus, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4 to 8 p.m. and have become a popular spot for students to frequent.
The Charger Bulletin asked students online, “What is your favorite place to eat on-campus?” Of the 28 participants, 50% of the votes were for the food trucks. Food On-Demand (FoD) ranked last, with 0% of the votes and Marketplace, second to last, with 4%.
On Instagram, the Charger Bulletin asked students to share their favorite food truck in a submission box. Of the 21 participants, Spuds Your Way was voted the most popular.
Amanda Foertsch and Alyssa Nooitgedagt, both freshmen criminal justice majors, said that they hope food trucks return next semester. They also said that Fork in the Road and La Mesa Food Truck are their favorites because “it hits different” and look forward to going to them every week.
Foertsch said that she likes that the food trucks offer various options and sometimes mix up their menus.
“I think that the food trucks are a good way to add ‘spice’ to campus life because you have the dining halls,” she said, “and you can go there every day, and it is pretty much the same stuff [served to us] every day, we all know that by now… The food trucks change their menus sometimes, so you know when you go out, you have the option to try something new and I think that’s cool.”
Nooitgedagt said that she enjoys having the option to interact with other students and the food truck attendants, “I like the food trucks because honestly it [has] different options… [it] also gets us out of quarantine and the room just to get something new because we can’t go to restaurants.”
Sean Allen and Logan O’Neil, both forensic science juniors, and Jarredd Kane, sophomore biology major, love coming to the food truck, even saying it is “90% on there meals.”
O’Neil is thankful for alternate food options and Kane said, “this is much better than any [other] meal we have on campus”. The three are hopeful that the food trucks return, especially their favorite which is Fryborg.
The Spuds Your Way food truck has been in service for about eight years. The truck’s owner Jared Chohen said, “Being at UNH last semester & this semester has been awesome! New people have gotten to try our food which help spread the word of our storefront in Hamden that opened a year & a half ago.”
Based on what he has seen, Cohen said the most popular potato combination at the university is their Supreme BBQ shaved chicken potato.
Liberty Rock Tavern was voted ‘Best Food Truck’ by Connecticut Magazine in 2019 and the truck has been in business since 2017. The truck’s owner Brian said, “Our experience here has been awesome! The students are super cool and love what we do!.. Thanks for the opportunity to be at UNH and we appreciate the support. If you have not tried our chicken sandwiches, come check us out!!”
The most popular sandwich for the students at the university would be their O.G, according to Brian.
The female-owned and operated small business, La Mesa Food Truck is known to accommodate dietary needs by offering gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options on their menus.
“Our experience has been really positive; the staff has been incredibly supportive and helpful.” Owner Alba Garay said she would love to return next semester and for those to follow as La Mesa “want[s] to extend our gratitude to everyone at UNH for supporting our small business.”
Fork in the Road loves working at different universities and events. The truck attendant, Marc said when they work at universities, fairs and festivals, their main priority is to meet new people and provide the best experience for customers. .
Not only have the students been happy, but the trucks themselves have loved their experience at the university. Fork in the Road, Spuds Your Way and Liberty Rock Tavern all said that if that university will have them, they will absolutely come back for the fall semester.
General manager of food services Juan Dominguez said that traditional dining options – such as FoD and Marketplace – and food trucks cannot compare to one another as they are two different experiences, and it is just an additional option to have.
Dominguez also said that he would love to hear more about students’ opinions on the trucks.
On the future of the trucks at the university, Dominguez said, “Food Trucks brings additional cost to the program and efforts are made to give more alternatives to the students in difficult times. The future, short and long term of the Food truck program is uncertain, for sure they will be available until the end of the semester.”
Dominguez said they are working hard to add trucks to the rotation. For now, students can use two meal swipes from their meal plan per week, and dining dollars, at the food trucks.