The Vermont Cynic

Pam’s Deli wraps it up at UVM

Lauren Schnepf, Assistant News Editor

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Pam Bissonnette leaned forward on the window of her food truck.

“What can I get ya, hun?” she asked.

After 35 years of feeding UVM students, staff and faculty with Pam’s Deli, a UVM Food truck, the Bissonnettes will retire Dec. 12.

“The reactions are a toss-up between ‘Oh no, you can’t retire. Where am I going to get my breakfast?’ and ‘Oh no, I’m going to miss you both, but you deserve it,’” Pam said. “Both reactions leaves us with a feeling of being loved.”

Pam’s Deli started out as a truck that sold hot dogs, hamburgers, Italian sausage and fresh-cut french fries and expanded into two trucks, Pam said.

Around 1984, one truck started to sell fresh vegetables after talk of the negative effects of eating red meat.

George Bissonnette, Pam’s husband, ran one truck while she ran the other, and Pam’s Deli was born, she said.

The couple hired UVM students to keep up with the rush the two trucks generated for the 15 years they were both open, Pam said.

“Ask anyone who is about to retire and they will tell you that you know when it’s time,” she said.

“George is 67 and I am 60. Having stood on our legs for up to eight hours a day for 35 years plus, you start feeling the toll.”

Pam said that working outside of the University has fostered a sense of community.

“It’s a family,” she said. “We’ve been through some tough times and have always been given so much support.”

Through her diagnosis of breast cancer, chemotherapy and the loss of the Bissonnettes’ son, students, staff and other customers have been a source of constant support, sending cards and attending their son’s funeral, Pam said.

“Now, don’t make it sound like a sob story,” she said. “I’m just trying to get across what a family UVM is.”

The couple looks forward to enjoying their retirement with trips to Florida, Pam said.

She is also excited to take art classes at UVM to stay connected to her friends here, she said.

The Bissonettes said they are excited to watch their favorite TV shows the night they come out instead of having to watch them the next day due to their early bedtime.

“The thing I’m looking forward to the most—you’re not going to believe this—is not having that big yellow truck sitting in my driveway. For 35 years I’ve looked out the window and seen that truck,” Pam said.

Pam’s food truck will be sold and refurbished to be used as the new Ahli Baba’s Kabob Shop truck.

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Pam’s Deli wraps it up at UVM