When University Dining announced local food truck vendors now serve NC State in four locations, I was among those delighted to have yummy food brought to us. Not only do vendors’ trucks offer interesting alternatives to brown bag and fast food lunches, these are also part of a regional trend. Nine months ago Raleigh passed its first citywide law easing restrictions on where food trucks may set up across town.
To help our readers, the Bulletin has diligently explored the food truck scene at all four locations: Administrative Services II, Biltmore Hall, Venture II-A and Venture II-B on Centennial Campus. You can download the schedule online and here is a critique of some of our favorites.
At Centennial Campus a pack of hungry carnivores — 40 people at least — stalk the Only Burger truck. One customer says she’s eaten from the Only Burger truck every day since it rolled in. I ask if it’s better than Cook-Out and she looks mad. “Way, way, way better,” she insists.
For my taste test I order the Single Burger Lunch Special. I love the fresh pickles, delicately flavored and crunchy, but then I grew up in New Zealand where everything was homemade. That’s probably why the homemade fries also appeal. The beef is devoid of steroids or hormones and is ground daily by their local butcher— delicious.
My critique: $8.57 for a burger and fries seems pricey, but Only Burger is a fine tasting meal. The service is friendly and fast.
Hibachi Xpress is fast food, Japanese-style. At Centennial Campus two Fridays ago, 15 people line up for lunch consisting of rice, chicken or beef boxes with house or teriyaki sauce. I order the stir-fried beef with vegetables.
Here’s my critique: Generous portions and speedy service. At $9.50 for the regular lunch special, the price feels high.
This Chinese-style dumpling maker is the favorite pick of CALS news editor/media specialist Natalie Hampton. Chirba Chirba’s dumplings are delicious, she says, with interesting sauces and flavors such as the Bayside Chive. The steamed edamame (fresh soybeans) make a great, nutritious side.
Here’s her critique: “Buy the five dumpling portion versus 10. This is deceptively filling. The food doesn’t travel too well however, so best eat it there. The pork dumplings are delicately seasoned and wonderful.”
I never ate at Klausie’s Pizza, but Kenneth Cash, the main delivery driver from the Business Services warehouse loves the crispy base and quirky flavors, including pepperoni, red onion and red pepper flakes or the “fire belly” with hot Thai chili butter and pineapple purée. Slices cost $3 to $5.
Here’s his critique: “This is a great, cheap lunch out. I’ve been four times this week.”
This is one of the newer trucks on campus. It is Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue with a twist — sandwiches using pulled chicken versus pork and a nice, tangy coleslaw. I tried it out.
Here’s my critique: If you like Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue, which is based in pepper and vinegar, this is great food. I liked the freshness of the coleslaw. This is a good and fairly filling lunch.
Deli-icious launched its food truck on campus just before Labor Day weekend and offers paninis, salads, vegan and vegetarian food for a low price. This is admirable given that the menu contains local items such as fig jam. I didn’t order here, but one enthused customer from Human Resources weighs in.
Here’s her critique: “Delicious, like the name says, with fresh, interesting sandwiches. I’ve returned five times in two weeks. How do I budget for this lunch versus brown bag? I don’t tell my husband.”