Food Truck on Campus
Whether they are in Klyde Warren Park or right here on the UT Dallas campus, food trucks seem to be all the rage these days. In the summer 2012 the University decided to jump on the food truck bandwagon and has been serving ever since.
During lunch hours the food truck is located between the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building and the Naveen Jindal School of Management. For late night dining, it can be found between Residence Hall North and Residence Hall West.
“We began discussions with our food contractor three years ago when the food truck phenomena was gaining momentum after students and staff expressed a desire for a truck at food advisory meetings,” said Carrie Chutes, assistant director for Food & Retail Services. “Executive Chef Gene Christiano runs a few of these advisory meetings each year where he brings new menu items for folks to try. Dining Services also continually seeks feedback and ideas via the Facebook page, the dining website and comment cards. Additionally, there is also a dry erase board in the dining hall where diners leave suggestions.”
Chutes said last year’s menu was more of an Asian/Mediterranean fusion fare, with items such as falafel and basmati rice boat, hummus and tabouli. Based on their feedback, customers really loved the taste of the food just not the length of time preparation took, Chutes said.
“This year’s menu, although is still ethnically diverse, has been redesigned to be a more simple and faster production,” she said.
From fish tacos to sweet potato fries, Dining Services has tried to satisfy a wide range of appetites, but Chutes said they would love to have as many food choices on campus as possible and they are always up for suggestions.
“We are growing at such a rapid pace,” she said, “so it will be important for us to examine the foot traffic patterns on campus during various times of the day over the next year to see what is most viable.
“We also have a new hot dog cart which gives us more options to provide food to hot spots on campus,” Chutes added. “At this time we are focusing our resources on the construction of a second dining hall which will also have a small convenience store and Papa John’s Pizza attached. [In the fall 2014] we will also be opening an Einstein’s Bagel in Parking Structure 3, as well as a Jason’s Deli in the new addition to the Jindal School of Management.”
Food Truck Review
Phyllis Ffolkes and Carlos Pinkerton make a good team. Staffing the Food Truck since Fall 2013, the two were a warm and welcoming addition on a cold dreary day in December.
Ffolkes greets customers with her upbeat and down-to-earth personality—and occasional story—while Pinkerton whips up the cuisine, also with a side of his laidback persona.
A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Pinkerton quietly prepares the day’s culinary offerings, while Ffolkes, a University of Georgia grad with extensive experience both in the back and front of the house in culinary services, shares stories with topics varying from her son and her daughter-in-law—who “I just love,” she declares—to not wanting or allowing anyone to go hungry.
But just how did the food fare? See what reviewing staff members had to say:
Comet Sweet Potato Fries
Reviewer: “The fries were good, and the sauce (spicy aioli) was good too.”
Reviewer: “The sweet potato fries were the best part of the meal. They had a great flavor and perfect texture.”
Note: Spicy aioli was technically made as an accompaniment for the chicken sliders, until an inspiring moment spurred Pinkerton to use it for the fries.
The Temoc Spicy Chicken Stacker
Reviewer: “It was good and spicy and better than the burger sliders I had previously that weren’t seasoned well. The pricing was too expensive. Maybe they can bring back the $5 Fridays or do a combo special that includes a drink.” *
The Freshman Fish Taco
Reviewer: “The ingredients used were fresh, and I enjoyed the fusion of the tastes. It was a bit messy, but still good. I’m not sure pricewise I would want to pay for it again, unless it came with something else like fries or a drink.”
The Academic Chalupa
Reviewer quote: “It had a great taste and looked very appetizing. Unfortunately, I did not feel it was worth the amount that I paid for it.”
* Since the 12/12/13 review, the Food Truck menu now includes combos.