by Brett Feller
UCF is in a culinary crisis.
There’s no way to sugarcoat it. In Fall 2017, food options at UCF are at an all-time low, with lines and frustrations at all-time highs. To any freshmen reading this, it wasn’t always this bad. Students whisper of a time where you could get a sub in the Union without taking out a student loan for Boar’s Head, or of a mythical place called Kyoto with lunch specials that didn’t insult the concept of “lunch.” The “Pita Spot” is where dreams of a decent meal go to die, and the less said about the “sandwiches” of Café Bustelo and Starbucks the better. It seems Qdoba and Chick-Fil-A might be the only places on campus to get a decent meal.
So what’s a student to do? The answer comes on four wheels: food trucks, which deliverer hot and steaming hope to a starved campus. Each week brings a new rotation of real food served by real people to a campus crying out for a savory and satisfying meal. With so many choices, I’ve highlighted a few of my favorite trucks to help you make the right choice for lunch. The UCF Student Union posts which trucks will be on campus each week on their Facebook page.
One of my personal favorites, Barnwood BBQ is one of the most common food trucks on campus. As mentioned on their website, Barnwood is locally and nationally ranked and acclaimed for their sauces, seasonings, and incredible pulled pork. Their menu is small but comfortably satisfying, with the obvious highlight of a “BBQ Sundae,” a delicious barbecue confection served in the image of an ice cream sundae with a cherry (tomato) on top. Everything is served with a friendly Southern face and country music lightly emanating from within. As the weather begins to cool, some hot as hell pork and chicken may be just the cure for your winter finals blues. Facebook page
Turning heads with their unique prison iconography and dish names, Arrested Appetite brings a hybrid of Spanish classics, seafood dishes, and a smattering of barbecue. Boasting a larger menu than many other trucks, Arrested Appetite is the truck if you really want a variety of choices. Fresh food and accommodating service makes this truck really stand out. Try the pork enchiladas, incredible crab tostones, and if you’re really hungry, the mouthwatering seafood paella. Make sure you give yourself enough time to order and eat; the lines grow quickly and the dishes take time. You won’t regret it. Facebook page
Amish Pretzel Shop
These long lines you’ve seen in the blistering Memory Mall heat? This truck is to blame. One of the few trucks with lower cost “snack” offerings, Amish Pretzel Shop has largely assumed the throne of the most popular truck for good reason. These pretzels are no joke. Far from your average carnival pretzel fare, these pretzels are hand-crafted, piping hot, wonderfully soft and buttery real Amish delicacies. According to their site, these are the same pretzels owner Krissy grew up with in Lancaster, PA. Her mission is simple: share these pretzels with the rest of the world. Everything about this truck, from the hand-drawn menus each day to the nice smiles on the worker’s faces, radiates genuine warmth. It doesn’t really matter if you like your pretzel stuffed, sandwiched, or classic. Everything is top-notch. And the smell, my god, the smell. It radiates all over Memory Mall and wherever you take your pretzel. This might sound a bit hyperbolic, but you’ll understand once you try one. Facebook page.
Simply Divine, with the fanciest website, the most experienced chef, and the priciest and most eclectic menu, should be considered the luxury offering. Simply Divine offers quick bites, sandwiches, and a daily rotating menu. If you want something healthy, premium, and tasty, you’ve come to the right truck. Chef Edgar prepares a wonderful array of beautifully crafted dishes, ranging from chicken and tofu tacos, palomilla bowls, and an unbelievably gorgeous “tripleleta” sandwich with brisket, chicken, and turkey bacon. Don’t let the blandly decorated truck fool you. This food is restaurant quality. You could bring a date to this food truck and come away more satisfied than a table for two at most local restaurants. It’s that good. Facebook page
Next time you’re looking for food on campus, drop the Chick-Fil-A, put away the Qdoba, and try something new. These are just a few of my favorite trucks here at UCF. The question is: Which one will be yours?