Published August 28, 2014
The food truck movement has finally reached the UB campus.
Big Blue, a 30-foot-long, food-dispensing behemoth created by Campus Dining and Shops (CDS), will travel between the North and South campuses serving gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, varieties of macaroni and cheese, and teppanyaki.
The truck will make its formal debut to the campus community at noon on Saturday in front of Bissell Hall on the North Campus. Bissell is near UB Stadium, where the Bulls will open the 2014 football season against Duquesne that afternoon.
“Food trucks are a national and local trend,” says Adam Coats, assistant director of CDS. “All of our concepts come from the students. If a food truck is what the students want, that’s what we work on.”
Big Blue is the largest food truck in Buffalo and the only food truck with LED lighting, according to Jeff Brady, CDS executive director.
For inspiration, Brady and his team visited more than 140 food trucks in the Northeast before developing their own design and layout. Every aspect — from the name to the menu — was screened by focus groups of UB students, faculty and staff.
Although Big Blue is a food truck, its staff can prepare any meal that a full-service kitchen can. The truck is equipped with fryers, broilers, steam tables, a flat top grill, refrigerated cases and a convection oven.
The menu features an assortment of grilled cheese sandwiches that include “The Pink Goat,” which features herbed goat cheese on marble rye with pickled beets and arugula; the “Peanut Butter with Sideburns,” a peanut butter sandwich with bacon, bananas and a hint of cream cheese; and of course, the “Plain Jane,” a classic American cheese on sourdough bread.
Macaroni and cheese specials include a spicy option with jalapeños and beef on weck mac. Teppanyaki — a style of grilled Japanese cuisine — menu items offer ramen noodles with beef, chicken, shrimp and vegetarian options.
The menu will change every few weeks, but student and staff favorites will carry over. Prices range between $4 and $8, and customers can pay with cash, credit and funds on UB cards.
Big Blue will circle the North Campus on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and the South Campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays. CDS also will station the truck on the South Campus on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
The downtown campus will join Big Blue’s route once construction on the new School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ building is completed.
CDS will announce Big Blue’s regular operating hours before the home opener on Aug. 30.
“As UB grows, we’re limited in physical space to build kitchens. A food truck gives us that flexibility to serve different areas relatively easily,” says Ray Kohl, CDS marketing manager. “We’re going to be where food isn’t normally readily available, so we don’t see this being parked outside of the Student Union. They’re already being served.”
Students can expect to find the mobile kitchen at most campus events and athletic games as well. The truck also will be available to students, faculty, staff and alumni for catering of on- and off-campus events.
If Big Blue is a success, CDS plans to build a second, smaller food truck, to be named Baby Blue.
That sign isn't a very good advertisement for literacy at UB. The words mozzarella, beets, peanut and banana are all misspelled.
Also, the menu is amazingly high on cheese, cheese, cheese and more cheese, with sides of fried stuff. Yikes. I want to head over to Amy's Place for some of their yummy lentil soup.
The food was absolutely delicious. I cannot wait for it to make its rounds again.
The food truck movement is neither about being the biggest truck, nor being owned and operated by the university on university grounds. It is about supporting the livelihood of small business owners who work hard to provide unique offerings at competitive prices. If food trucks are what students want, give it to them, but do it in a manner that is more true to supporting the local community.