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BU Today

Campus Life

Food Trucks Come to BU

Dining on wheels

22

It’s impossible to walk by the colorful food trucks dotting Comm Ave without noticing the long lines and fragrant aromas. Sandwiches, cupcakes, and steaming lattes are just a smattering of what the food trucks that arrive on campus every day offer. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, each has nutritious food at affordable prices.

Boston was slow to embrace the national food truck trend. In 2010, Mayor Thomas Menino (Hon.’01) launched a Healthy Food Initiative designed to give residents better access to healthy food and issued a Food Truck Challenge, asking local vendors to come up with meals using fresh, local ingredients. Last fall, seven judges, among them some of the city’s most prominent chefs, and the public voted three food trucks contest winners.

Bon Me, co-owned by Alison Fong (CAS’01), with its healthy, Vietnamese-inspired food, was crowned one of the winners, along with Momogoose and Clover. Each was awarded technical assistance, permits, and low-interest loans to help their businesses grow.

Now 15 food truck vendors are part of the initiative, each bringing, in Menino’s words, “wicked good food” to different parts of the city. To participate, each must offer at least one healthy menu option and be committed to environmental sustainability. The trucks serve people craving dining options in places where there isn’t space for a new restaurant, says Fong. “When people buy their lunch from a truck, it brings them out to enjoy the city’s parks and green space,” she says. “And many food trucks pride themselves on serving food that is healthy.”

Many of the food trucks participating in the Boston program, as well as some additions, arrive each day on Commonwealth Ave., and BU Today has compiled a list below. Many more are at the South End’s SoWa Open Market on Sundays, close by the BU Medical Campus. Follow the trucks on Twitter, as many of them post updates about hours and menus.

Bon Me food truck serving food on the BU campus

Bon Me

Twitter: @BonMe
BU Location: In front of Morse Auditorium, 602 Commonwealth Ave., 3 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Other locations are here.

Bon Me is a play on the traditional Vietnamese sandwich, the “Bánh mì.” The bright yellow truck’s sandwiches ($6) start off with pickled carrot and daikon, cucumbers, cilantro, red onion, spicy mayo, and pate. Diners can then add spice-rubbed chicken, barbecued pork, or organic tofu and shitake mushroom. Other lunch choices include noodle salad or rice bowls (also $6), with choice of chicken, pork, or tofu. We recommend the noodle salad with cold buckwheat soba noodles and toasted sesame dressing. Wash it down with a yummy drink like spicy-ginger lemonade ($2.50) or an organic iced green tea ($2). For sides ($2), go with the spicy edamame or the deviled tea eggs.

The Cupcakory

Twitter: @cupcakory
Locations: Check here.

Food trucks bring dessert, too. The Cupcakory was founded by Dianne DeMarco, who decided to pursue her passion for baking after a career in publishing. She bought an old catering truck and launched the business with her husband. The moist cupcakes are intense—salted caramel, Nutella and chocolate, and Creamsicle are just a few. The truck also offers vegan and gluten-free cupcakes. All cupcakes are $3, or a half dozen for $16.50.

Roxy’s Grilled Cheese

Twitter: @RoxysGrilledChz
Locations: Check here.

You might recognize chef James DiSabatino and his truck from the Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race. The group was eliminated from the show in September, ending up third out of eight trucks. Now that Roxy’s is back in Boston, you can sample its grilled gourmet cheese with a twist. Opt for the Mighty Rib Melt ($7), made with fontina cheese, braised short ribs, and caramelized onions, or the more conventional Rookie Melt ($5), with Vermont cheddar cheese and fresh tomato. For a side, order the hand-cut truffle fries or the beer-battered grillos pickles, both a value at $4. If you’re still craving cheese, go for the grilled cheesecake ($4), homemade cheesecake between griddled butter pound cake. And we recommend that you then take the stairs to work off your dinner.

Clover food truck serving lunch on BU campus

Clover

Twitter: @cloverBUB
BU Location: In front of Morse Auditorium, 602 Commonwealth Ave., Monday and Tuesday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. In front of the College of Fine Arts, 855 Commonwealth Ave., Wednesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Other locations are here.

Begun by MIT grad Ayr Muir, Clover serves vegetarian food so good it appeals even to meat lovers. The morning offerings are breakfast sandwiches, popovers, oatmeal with fresh fruit, and coffee. For lunch or dinner, try the Barbecue Seitan sandwich (seitan is a meat alternative made from wheat gluten) or the Soy BLT; all sandwiches are $5. The most popular item may just be the french fries ($3), a huge quantity of crisp fries with rosemary sprigs and salt sprinkled over them. In a rush? The truck conveniently lists estimated times next to each of the menu offerings to let you know how long your selection should take to arrive. The fresh-made lemonades change often (brown sugar lemonade, lavender lemonade). Clover also serves hibiscus soda, coffee, and orange juice.

Grilled Cheese Nation

Twitter: @GCNBoston
BU Location: In front of Morse Auditorium, 602 Commonwealth Ave., Saturday, 4 to 11 p.m. Other locations are here.

These gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches will make even the biggest food snobs think they’ve died and gone to heaven. The sandwich starts with bread from local Cambridge bakery Iggy’s that is crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, just like bread should be. Try the Brie Me Up, with melted creamy brie and sliced Asian pear on organic wheat pain de mie bread, or the In Gouda We Trust, smoked gouda with caramelized onions and sautéed mushrooms on rye pain de mie. Most sandwiches are between $4 and $6; tomato soup or gazpacho (depending on season) can accompany the sandwich in either a “shot” ($1 with a sandwich, otherwise $2) or a bowl ($4). For dessert, have the Nut Tellin Ya ($5), Nutella and Fluff with sliced bananas on a mini brioche.

Kick*ss Cupcakes

Twitter: @Kickasscupcakes
Locations: Check here.

This Davis Square–based bakery has gone mobile, bringing the cupcakes that earned them a huge following in Somerville to neighborhoods throughout Boston. The inventive flavors are surprising—mojito, berry crumbly, and limited editions like chocolate oink (chocolate cupcake with whipped cream center, maple icing topped with candied bacon). Cupcakes are $3 each, $4 for an extra-large.

The Dining Car food truck serving food on the BU campus

The Dining Car

Twitter: @thediningcar
BU Location: In front of Morse Auditorium, 602 Commonwealth Ave., Wednesday and Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Other locations are here.

It’s hard to miss the big reddish-orange food truck that serves lunch twice a week in front of Morse. The sandwiches ($7) are large and worth every penny. Specials are often posted on Facebook and Twitter, but expect to see the New England Apple Cider Brined Pulled Pork or the Chicken Marrakesh, grilled chicken with fresh oregano, garlic, olive tapenade, and port wine prune jam on freshly baked focaccia. Sides and snacks change often, but a mainstay is the popular crispy cauliflower ($4).

Frozen Hoagies

Twitter: @FrozenHoagies
BU Location: In front of Marsh Chapel, 735 Commonwealth Ave. Hours change—check here for the week’s schedule and other locations.

These handmade gourmet ice cream sandwiches ($5) come with a scoop of ice cream lavished between two fresh-baked cookies. You get to choose your own combination of cookie and ice cream—ice cream flavors range from vanilla to mint explosion, and cookie choices include chocolate chip, vanilla bean, chocolate sugar, or pizzelle cookie. Fall flavors include: maple, pumpkin, sweet cream ice cream; pumpkin or gingerbread cookies. If you’re watching your figure, smaller sliders ($3) and bowls of ice cream ($4) are available.

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What’s your favorite food truck? Leave it in the comments section below.

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu. Robin Berghaus can be reached at berghaus@bu.edu.

22 Comments
Amy Laskowski

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu.

22 Comments on Food Trucks Come to BU

  • Emily on 09.26.2011 at 9:06 am

    What about the truck that I think has been there longest of all? I believe it is called “Campus Trolley,” and it’s on the corner of Comm Ave and Granby Street, at the east end of CAS. That’s clearly a family-run business, a husband-and-wife team, and they’re out there in all weather serving delicious falafel, wraps, chili, etc.., with a personal touch. It just seems weird to leave them out even if they’re not part of a new initiative.

    • Kevin on 09.26.2011 at 9:31 am

      It is not a food truck. It is MADE to look like a food truck. It even has it’s own address as you can see written on it’s wall. Sure, it’s super delicious, but I do not believe it should be included in this article.

    • Rupert Manlove on 09.27.2011 at 5:15 pm

      it’s a wheel-less trolley, not a truck. YOUR ARGUMENT IS INVALID, EMILY

      • Emily on 09.28.2011 at 9:01 am

        Okay, okay! So, perhaps it’s technically not a truck. I just wanted to mention them, given that all these other businesses were getting free advertising.

    • Michael on 10.04.2011 at 3:30 pm

      Emily – I’m glad you asked – and I’m glad it’s still there! *LOVED* Campus Trolley when I was there in the early 90s! Great food served by great people.

    • Greg on 05.31.2012 at 8:35 pm

      And on some evening hours you can watch the rats dancing around this “trolley” truck. Free entertainment, eh?

  • Juliet on 09.26.2011 at 9:47 am

    I wish they also came to the Med Campus where we really could do with them !

    • David Keefe on 09.26.2011 at 9:54 am

      You hear that, Food Trucks?!?!?!

    • Sarah on 09.26.2011 at 12:05 pm

      Just what I was going to say!

    • Ashley on 05.31.2012 at 9:13 am

      So true!!! Why are they holding out on us?

  • Robin Berghaus on 09.26.2011 at 10:02 am

    The med campus has them at the SoWa market on Sundays through October.

  • Alison on 09.26.2011 at 10:06 am

    Wow! I wish these trucks were around when I was an undergrad at BU!

  • Christopher on 09.26.2011 at 10:27 am

    I’ve been following these food trucks on twitter/FB all Summer because they travel a lot to Dewey sq. and city hall etc. for business folks. Their food is absolutely delicious! My favorite is actually Clover and Kickass Cupcakes!

  • Dan on 09.26.2011 at 11:49 am

    A start, but still miles behind what you have in Philadelphia and NYC. I feel like the whole list of restrictions and barriers set up by Boston are really going to limit its growth. Many potential vendors will be put off by the hassle.

    • Jessica on 10.04.2011 at 9:36 am

      Agreed! Just a handful of food trucks in Boston are an indicator of what the city has imposted. D.C. has over 50 food trucks – less than 15 is a start but we should really be encouraging, not hindering, their growth.

  • LG on 09.26.2011 at 10:42 pm

    Going to have to second the BU Med Campus. The Medical School Campus has SUCH limited options it’s not even funny! We could definitely use some food trucks.

  • Overlord of the Freshman on 09.27.2011 at 1:53 pm

    Now just get them to take dining points…..somehow…..

    • inklings on 09.28.2011 at 2:23 am

      YES PLEASE. That would be amazing.

  • Amy M Laskowski on 10.11.2011 at 9:49 am

    Here’s another truck- Meatballs and Etc.

  • M S H on 05.31.2012 at 9:33 am

    The Taco Truck has been on the Med Campus recently (mostly Thursdays recently, but perhaps Wednesdays).
    https://twitter.com/#!/TheTacoTruck

  • Maathiildee on 05.31.2012 at 12:46 pm

    I love food trucks! I recently wrote a post about food trucks I saw / tried in Boston :

    http://www.maathiildee.com/en/2012/05/09/street-food-a-chacun-son-food-truck/

  • Toby on 06.01.2012 at 11:58 am

    I recently released an iPhone app that tracks the trucks, called Street Food Boston. I try to keep it up to date each day with the latest schedules. It’s on iTunes here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/street-food-boston/id495605911?mt=8 (Android too eventually, I hope!)

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