It was noon, and the line was already down the sidewalk. In fact, most of the sidewalks lining Norris Street on Monday, Sept. 16 were littered with students gathering at the sides of food trucks.
Sushi, burgers, grilled cheese, fried Snickers bars, New York gyros and my new personal favorite, crepes, are just a few of the choices available on wheels as an alternative to residence hall dining. These trucks are filled with character, each with their own distinct flavor and vibe.
The Creperie, the food truck that will go down in history as my first, seems to always be packed. I’d heard from a number of friends and acquaintances that the crepes available are delicious, cheap and huge. I took a sloppy bite of my steaming chicken feta pesto crepe, a recommendation from one of the workers who saw me debating between the 15 savory options.
The savory menu featured interesting pairings of flavors, some of which I wouldn’t have expected to be a palatable combination. “Alexander the Crepe,” for example, is comprised of gyro meat and pepperoni doused in pizza sauce and ranch dressing. Being completely new to the food truck scene, I was a bit intimidated by such a bold creation, but I might brave it sometime this semester.
The Creperie has an array of temptingly sweet options along with the hearty, perhaps more lunch-appropriate menu. The “Berries Cheesecake” and “S’mores” crepes sounded like a lot of sugar in the middle of my day, but seem worthy of another trek from my residence hall.
Dripping crepe in hand, I sat outside the Tyler School of Art and enjoyed my surroundings for the first time that day.
Unlike the usually crowded dining halls, my chair in a shaded patch of grass was cozy. Students walked by and peeked into the truck or onto my plate to see what I was indulging in. A continuous stream of people meandered to and from class as I ate the first food truck meal of my college experience. I also noticed that the line for crepes did not dwindle as people rushed to class.
Compared to dining at the Johnson & Hardwick cafeteria, Morgan Hall or the Student Center, food trucks seem to be more accessible to the average student. Quite literally on the way to class and almost as quick as fast-food, the average food truck seems to cater to a busy student looking for something tasty and satisfying. I was certainly pleased with my first truck-bought meal.
The Creperie’s line was the longest on the block, but I waited less than 15 minutes for my lunch. Rather than having to navigate through the Student Center, wait in the long lines at Morgan Hall or deal with the hassle of handling trays and finding a seat at J&H, food trucks are the ideal way to grab a snack or meal between classes.
Variety is what I’m looking for in my meals. It’s only a month into the semester and I am already becoming bored with the options at dining halls. I noticed that the food trucks at Temple are comprised of various cultural influences.
The issue of cost is an important factor. While the price of one meal is $7.80 in dining halls, my crepe was only $5. For an additional $1, I could have gotten any drink available at the truck.
In Morgan Hall, it is almost impossible to stay within the monetary constraints of one ‘meal.’ The same goes for the Student Center and Cosi. J&H and food trucks seem to be the most cost effective, because J&H offers students a buffet-style meal.
As a new and inexperienced food truck diner, quality and price are most important in my decisions. The selection available at all of the trucks and their budget-conscious prices are refreshing for a freshman usually constrained to dining halls.
With all the food trucks on campus, it seems I won’t run out of new meals to try between classes any time soon.
Emily Rolen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.