Local chefs rival for spot on food truck fleet

Tour de Taste

Alex Shannon, Staff Writer

It’s hard to imagine UVM’s University Place road without a fleet of food trucks during midday.

Aromas of dumplings, cheeseburgers, tacos, kabobs and egg sandwiches seep into the air surrounding University Place, the road that runs alongside Williams Hall, Old Mill and Ira Allen Chapel.                     

During each 20-minute period between classes, the scents of international and local fare attract lines of students along the sidewalk.

Lap Ninh, the owner of the Lucky Chinese Food food truck, said he has some customers who come to his truck almost every day.

“I like working with students,” Ninh said. “You get to talk to people and have relationships; it’s like a family.”

His truck has been parked on University Place for 25 years, Ninh said.

The city of Burlington controls the distribution of permits for food trucks on University Place and keeps a wait list for interested truck owners, according to a 2016 Seven Days article.

There are only seven spots available at once, and the application process includes a variety of requirements such as a background check, proof of registration and insurance and a $400 fee, according to the article.

Some vendors have waited for University Place for over five years, like William Mitchell, owner of the barbecue truck All Fired Up.

“I was on a list for six years to get up here, and once you get up here, you don’t leave,” Mitchell said. “The city of Burlington controls this road right here; we have to apply to them, everybody has to go through a background check. It’s just a matter of when your number comes up.”

Although only in his second season at UVM, Mitchell has also developed a strong customer base, he said.

Senior Samantha Frankel is a regular at All Fired Up and tries to go four out of the five school days to Mitchell’s spot, she said.

“I would choose a favorite [food], but I love them all,” Frankel said. “I can’t explain it, it’s just something you have to try for yourself.”

Farmers and Foragers, the newest food truck on campus, waited for a spot for over two years until a spot opened up in July, said Solomon Bayer-Pacht, co-founder of the local organic food truck.

“This is our third season and we just finished preparing our second truck as well, so the timing was great,” Bayer-Pacht said. “We’ve been on the wait list here at UVM since we opened up. We opened in April 2015 and going into that season we put ourselves on the waitlist.”

The food trucks on campus are a reflection of the passionate and talented businesses and people in the Burlington community.

The food truck owners not only offer eclectic and delicious food options, but also work hard to establish relationships with their customers on campus.