There’s nothing college kids love more than free food, and SUBOG certainly delivers every year with their annual Food Truck Festival, which has quickly become a Spring Weekend staple. This year’s festival, which featured 10 trucks, offered a variety of foods from barbeque to falafel to ice cream cookie sandwiches. The festival occupied Fairfield Way and Hillside Road on Saturday evening.
Organizers brought back many fan favorites this year, including Food Extrovert, Whey Station, Uncle D’s Blazin’ BBQ, Cookie Monstah, Munchies, Meriano’s Cannoli Truck, Fryborg and the University of Connecticut’s own Lizzie’s Curbside, which were all returning trucks. New options at the festival were Woody’s Hot Dogs and The Comfort Zone.
“This year we wanted to focus on quality over quantity with our trucks and offer a lot more diversity,” TJ Fauci, SUBOG’s special events chairman, explained. “We have a lot more vegetarian and vegan options this year; we were really looking to cater to those people.”
Waits for the trucks were long and students started lining up almost an hour before the festival opened, but most left satisfied customers. The most popular trucks appeared to be Food Extrovert which served tacos and falafel, the Whey Station which served grilled cheese, and Munchies which offered a variety of grilled items such as burgers and chicken skewers.
Food Extrovert offered chicken and black bean tacos, vegetable tacos and mini falafel wraps. These were made to order and featured fresh ingredients, including pico de gallo, herbs and cheese. The falafel, a great vegetarian option, was a nice change of pace from the other more traditional menu appearances at the festival, and was served with lemon-tahini sauce, tomatoes, lettuce, pickled cabbage and tzatziki sauce.
With artisan pretzels stealing the show in the food scene lately, The Comfort Zone was a perfect addition to the line-up this year. They offered regular soft-serve pretzels and more gourmet options, like buffalo chicken, pepperoni and mozzarella and caprese pretzels. The caprese pretzels was served with fresh tomato, mozzarella and basil and drizzled in a light vinaigrette. Their cinnamon-sugar dessert pretzel was very popular toward the end of the night.
Uncle D’s Blazin’ BBQ offered a variety of southern comfort food such as wings, nachos and pulled pork sandwiches. The most popular item on the menu seemed to be the beef brisket “mac attack,” which was creamy mac and cheese topped with tender brisket and barbeque sauce. There was a huge grill cooking the meat on the back of the truck, and the delicious smoky smell of barbeque could be detected all around Hillside Road.
Each year roughly 4,000 people attend the festival, making it a very crowded event. Lines wrapping around the streets meant that some of the trucks ran out of supplies before the end of the night. Fauci explained that in order to prepare for this the food trucks were strategically placed on the streets: Trucks with higher quantities of food were placed more centrally, while the trucks that have limited supplies were on the outskirts to make it easier for them to leave.
The event was free to all UConn students with a spring weekend wristband. There were various contests and giveaways throughout the weeks leading up to the event for students to be able to win skip-the-line passes.
“It was even better than last year,” Hailey Altobelli, fourth-semester management and information systems major, said. “The food was really good!”
But the food truck festival offered much more than just food. There were SUBOG giveaways and live music from Sounds of Storrs throughout the evening. Performers including Jackson’s Garden (a progressive jam funk band), Flight of Silence (a UConn alumni rock band), Luke Warm Jalapeños (a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover group formed from the UConn Rock Ensemble), Kids That Fly (a newly formed UConn pop rock group that recently opened at UCONNIC) and the UConn Rock Ensemble took to the stage outside of the Student Union. Despite the frigid temperatures, they still gathered a crowd of listeners.
“We wanted to incorporate more entertainment into the festival this year and branch out with bands performing,” Fauci said. “Kids That Fly have been extremely popular lately so we’re excited to have them here.”
Between the variety of food options, giveaways and live entertainment, there was certainly something for every UConn student to enjoy.
“They had a great selection of food,” Jessica Serrao, sixth-semester allied health major, said. “I think they were able to cover a wide variety of food options that could satisfy anyone’s tastes.”
Melissa Scrivani is the associate life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.
Julia Mancini is the life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at Julia.firstname.lastname@example.org.