Marquette Wire

Brake for lunch

Eateries roll up to Wells St. parking lot during spring

Sandwich+from+YellowBellies%2C+the+first+to+visit+MUSG+event
Sandwich from YellowBellies, the first to visit MUSG event

Sandwich from YellowBellies, the first to visit MUSG event

Photo by Austin Anderson

Photo by Austin Anderson

Sandwich from YellowBellies, the first to visit MUSG event

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Marco Pollo, Gouda Girls, Falafel Guys and The Rolling Cones: these aren’t bad band names or minor league baseball teams; these are some of the stars from Milwaukee’s thriving food truck scene. The best part is that they may be rolling up to campus on a Wednesday this spring.

Last October, MUSG’s creative director, Ben Dombrowski, came up with the idea of Food Truck Wednesday. On a sporadic Wednesday, a specific truck would be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in parking lot A to serve lunch to students.

Dombrowski saw the location as ideal. Located behind McCormick Hall, just to the left of the Alumni Memorial Union and in the main intersection of a route a lot of upperclassmen take to get to their off-campus apartments. He saw the event as the perfect opportunity to give students a broader variety of food options they crave.

“This was an easy, fun way to provide more options without going though a lot of hoops,” Dombrowski said. “The best part is that the university was so open to it. They were gung-ho. We sat down and said, ‘Let’s make this happen.’”

After months of hard work and marketing, Dombrowski finally saw his idea come to fruition this past Wednesday when the YellowBellies food truck put on the parking break, fired up the grill and starting shelling out their signature gourmet sandwiches.

“It was a lot of fun and really good energy,” Siobhan Mesenboury, owner of YellowBellies, said. “As opposed to other times when we’ve set up and just got a lunch hit of crowds coming out, there were crowds at all times.”

Just five minutes after opening, a swarm of people surrounded the truck. It helped that the weather was an unseasonably warm 70 degrees, but he was excited nonetheless.

Photo by Austin Anderson
YellowBellies was featured Feb. 22 at MUSG’s first Food Truck Wednesday. No schedule is in place, but MUSG promises at least one more truck to visit in spring.

“We were waiting to see what the crowd was going to look like,” Mesenboury said. “We weren’t sure since this event had never been held before and it was the middle of February … but right when we saw the immediate crowd, we knew it would be a great success.”

Mesenboury’s assumptions were correct since they sold out of their stock 45 minutes before they were scheduled to wrap up at 2 p.m., something she was both disappointed with and impressed by.

“We know next time to bring more,” she said.

Students responded positively to the truck’s food.

“I was walking past, smelled the food, saw people holding (it) and couldn’t help but stop,” Alexa Lyon, a senior in the college of Health Sciences, said.

Megan Carrol, a sophomore in the college of Business Administration, had the same reaction. Her friend told her about the event ten minutes before they both showed up.

“They were giving out free fries. That sold me,” she said. “Also, the food ended up being really good.”

Possibly the only issue — and it was hard to find one on a February day that saw most people wearing shorts — was getting the word out ahead of time. Most students didn’t hear about the food truck before they saw it on campus.

Lyon, Carrol and Lucas Henk, a senior in the College of Engineering, said it was word of mouth that brought them to the truck.

Dombrowski, who worked hard at blasting the news on print, digital, social media and sidewalks, admitted this was a “trial run” and there would be a “learning curve” involved. He also said it would be a while until they host the next food truck so they can take notes to see what went right and what to improve.

Though a schedule isn’t officially set, Dombrowski said there will definitely be at least one more this spring.

“I’m confident this isn’t going to be a one-hit wonder, and I think students are excited about it,” Dombrowski said. He also wants to make this more than a just a Marquette event.

“This is centered around community,” he said. “We want to encourage the Milwaukee community, along with (Marquette) faculty and staff, to come out and get great food.”

 

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