Kent State University's Dining Services is now serving burgers, tacos, salads and more from its first food truck this summer.
The new food truck, called Fork in the Road, has a core menu and chef specials with a focus on culinary excellence, according to the university. The menu will change with availability of seasonal ingredients and will feature both classics and signature items.
"This is definitely culinary-driven," said Rich Roldan, director of Kent State's Dining Services. "It's going to be street food but in a different fashion. It will be very good and healthy, not your standard menu."
Kent State Executive Chef Christian Booher runs the truck. Fork in the Road operates near White Hall, Bowman Hall and the more remote northwest area of campus. It also will appear at athletic events, campus festivals and other special venues.
"We're looking at going where it's convenient," Roldan said. "A lot of students just don't want to walk more than three or four minutes to get to the Kent Student Center. We want to service those needs on that side of campus, as well as for commuters and folks who don't want to worry about parking."
Fork in the Road conducted tests of its menu items with free samples at events.
"We want to make sure we tweak all the recipes, get all the equipment working and have a good flow," Roldan said. "The last thing we want to do is open and not be able to give the best service."
The idea for a food truck came from watching food trends and discussing campus dining options over the years.
"We've had a small truck, and it's done OK for us, but the trend seems to be going toward food trucks," Roldan said. "Adding more dining locations to that side of campus is expensive and not a feasible option to build something there, so we kept thinking of doing a portable option."
The food truck is equipped with state-of-the-art appliances, featuring a commercial Keurig system, digital menu screens and blue undercarriage lights for night time.
Besides Kent State students, faculty and staff, the food truck serves visitors to campus and the general public. It accepts cash, credit card and debit card. For Kent State students, it also accepts their FLASHcard (used to purchase meals in the dining halls) and FLASHcash (an optional account students can add to their FLASHcard that can be used to make purchases both on and off campus wherever the FLASHcard is accepted).