Dartmouth Dining Services rolls out new food truck

by Kristine Jiwoo Ahn | 10/4/16 12:31am

There's a new food truck on campus, run by Dartmouth Dining Services. The food truck is a part of the House Communities initiative that will serve as a mobile kitchen for the houses. They will feature a range of sliders, sides, and desserts featuring both meat and vegan options.

Videography by Jessica Campanile Editing by Katelyn Jones

Late night is going mobile.

Dartmouth Dining Services will debut a food truck in the next two weeks, a project initiated as part of the College’s transition to the new house community. The new DDS Food Truck will begin serving late night foods Monday through Thursday from 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. as soon as DDS acquires the necessary licenses.

Menu items include a variety of sliders, fries, brownies, churros and cheese fritters. In contrast to other food trucks in town, the DDS food truck will accept payments of DBA, meal swipes or credit card.

Donald Reed, the associate director of dining services, said that the truck will be a mobile kitchen intended to serve as the food hub for each of the housing communities.

“The house communities planners wanted to include a food service element,” he said. “Setting this up for each of the houses would have been difficult. It was suggested that [DDS] consider a food truck for this option.”

DDS planned and developed the truck after speaking with several other colleges and universities that are currently operating food trucks on campus, such as the University of Connecticut and the University of Massachusetts.

The truck will make two stops per night, among a total of seven stops: the Fayerweathers, House Centers A and B, Andres, Fahey Hall, the River Cluster and the McLaughlin Cluster.

Drew Walsh, the chef manager, will oversee the three-person staff running the truck. Current staff of the Courtyard Café will operate the truck ­-- the grill will close earlier each night to accommodate the new truck’s schedule.

Walsh said the truck plans to differentiate itself by its simple yet distinct options. The truck will not offer other food trucks’ niche menus or the same options as Collis Late Night or the snack bars.

In addition to its regular menu, the truck will serve weekly specials often featuring locally sourced and seasonal ingredients and variations on classics such as grilled cheese and fried chicken.

“We’ll also change the menu periodically, maybe once a term,” Walsh said. “There will always be something a little bit different.”

Walsh said that they are planning to experiment with social media, such as Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat to promote daily specials and to announce unexpected changes in location. DDS is in the process of gathering a marketing team of student employees to manage their social media presence.

DDS hopes to position the truck the in the midst of student life as much as possible by stationing the truck at sporting events or catering for student groups.

Walsh said that student input will be a huge consideration in the truck’s planned activity.

“I want to hear from everybody what works,” he said. “We could run contests and special events, for example, submit your favorite recipe and we’ll serve it as a special.”

While the confined kitchen increases the chance of cross-contamination and makes it challenging to carry gluten-free products, the truck will strive to have at least a couple of vegan options at all times.

Walsh’s favorite item on the menu is the Syrniki, or Russian cheese fritters, which he first tried at a bed and breakfast in New York while on a trip with his wife.

“It was run by a really sweet old Russian lady who made these little cheese pancakes and served them with fresh jam on top,” he said. “We fell in love with them — I’m very excited to serve them up deep fried at our food truck.”