Food trucks mobilize, come to campus

Chris Suarez
Staff Writer

Students have their orders taken at VCU’s first Food-Truck-A-Palooza. Photo by Chris Suarez.

Several students, new and old, were offered a taste this weekend of one of Richmond’s up-and-coming staples in its ever growing culinary scene: mobile food.

In what is being considered one of the largest food truck events held at VCU, the Food Truck-A-Palooza was held on Saturday, featuring 11 food trucks and carts, offering a wide variety of foods to excite the palette, such as tacos, quesadillas, barbecue, crepes and popsicles.

Organized by Student Commons and Activities, the idea sprouted after several new directors within the board who recently re-located to the Richmond area couldn’t help but notice the multitude of street vendors in the city and what they have to offer.

“When we were thinking of Welcome Week and what we could do towards the end of it when everybody else was back on campus, I looked around the city and bringing the food truck scene in just made sense,” said Assistant Director for Co-Curricular Involvement Lindsey Rumancik.

Saturday’s event included an inflatable obstacle course, basketball hoops and a DJ. Students were also able to redeem vouchers for several of the food trucks by completing a Welcome Week survey collected by Student Commons and Activities.

“There’s so many people to meet here today, everyone’s been real friendly, lots of great food trucks, ” said VCU freshman Jasmine Aldous. “It’d be cool to see things like this happen more often. I like it a lot, there’s a lot of variety.”

As Richmond’s restaurant scene began to garner a reputation, food trucks and carts who have long been part of the lunchtime scene all around the city started gaining more exposure as well. In the last few years, the rise in popularity began encouraging local entrepreneurs, business owners and chefs to start their own mobile restaurants or expand their already established locations with their own trucks.

Several food carts who regularly visit campus are owned by established restaurateurs, looking to expand their business and even start new restaurants offering something widely different from what they already make.

Photo by Chris Suarez.

Adam Hafi, owner of BoDillaz and Paris Crêperie – his newest venture which sells crepes filled with Nutella, fruits and other sweet and savory fillings – says being able to bring his business directly to VCU has helped continue the success of the original BoDillaz location at 916 W. Broad St. and let him and his employees “do something a little different”, rather than stay in their store all day.

Slideways Bistro owner and Richmond Food Truck Association president Garrett Walker, who schedules and organizes the local Food Truck Courts held in and around Richmond, said he was excited to have been asked to help plan Saturday’s event.

“When we started two years ago, we were just 10 or 12 trucks, now it’s about 40 different trucks, trailers and carts that are part of our organization,” Walker said. “We’re trying to grow even more. We’re hoping we could do another event at VCU, maybe a couple during the semester.”

Throughout Spring, Summer and early Fall, the Food Truck Courts are held most evenings during the week at locations such as Hardywood Brewery on Thursdays from 6-9 p.m., Virginia Historical Society on Tuesdays and Fridays from 6-9 p.m. and Chesterfield Town Center on Wednesdays from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Next month, Richmonders and VCU students enamored with the food truck scene can look forward to the Central Virginia Food Truck Rodeo which will be held at the Chesterfield Town Center on Sunday, September 14 from noon to 7pm. The event promises over 30-35 Food Trucks and admission is free.

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