Upon returning to Eckerd after scattering in the wake of COVID-19 in March 2020, students saw drastic changes to the dining services. Everything was grab-and-go, options were cut down and no one could eat inside the main cafe. Fortunately, the school enlisted a battalion of mobile kitchens to come to campus weekly and serve their fresh, unique, delectable foods to hungry Tritons.
These food trucks used to come every weekday and Sundays, with a lunch one from noon to 3 p.m. and a dinner one from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., and only a dinner one on Sundays. Despite this schedule being changed to only Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sunday evenings, students still flock for a taste of something on-campus dining does not offer. Social Media Manager and food truck aficionado Conall Rubin-Thomas took to Instagram and inquired about what people’s favorite trucks and items were, along with a few of his personal favorites.
St. Pete Taco Lady
It doesn't get more local than this flamboyant server of tacos, nachos and quesadillas. Normally attracting very lengthy lines, the wait is totally worth it for their tasty Mexican fare. With sides such as rice and beans and Southern-style tater tots to complement their flavorful taco fillings and melted cheese, along with vegetarian/vegan options, it's no wonder they always forecast a “100% chance of tacos.”
Just Smokin' BBQ
Their menu might be simple, but this fiery establishment nevertheless serves up rich and wholesome barbeque “off the meat rack.” First-Year Julia Bennet swears by their mac and cheese side option, and I for one can definitely say that their pulled pork sandwich is as good as it looks.
Mr. C's Grilled Cheese
Ever get tired of a simple melted dairy on bread? Well, that’s where Mr. C’s Grilled Cheese comes in, delivering not only a gourmet version of the classic sandwich, called the Plain Jane, but two unique creations guaranteed to make your taste buds party: the Mac Daddy and the Buffalo Soldier. The former is a massive heaping of delightfully gooey mac and cheese slathered in cheddar and American on Texas toast, while the latter is glorious provolone and mozzarella covering warm chicken doused in brutally good buffalo sauce on that same toast. They are both as good as they sound, and Soph Sawyer calls the truck “top notch."
Woodson's Wrap Shack
Far more restrained in terms of truck decor, this shack on wheels still provides an excellent variety of wraps, from buffalo chicken to chicken caesar and teriyaki, which Orion Vomo singles out as particularly good. As of their last visit to campus, they also offered chicken wings of varying heats, so they definitely cater to other tastes as well.
For those craving something not American or Latin, make sure to check out the Middle Eastern fare this truck caters. Ally Coughlan loves how they differ from food truck norms, and the gyros and shawarma they serve typically attract a lot of students.
With the most variety of any truck to come to Eckerd, these guys really know how to craft a small burger with a big punch. They have such types as the bacon and BBQ sauce-topped Roadhouse, the chicken-based Hot and Little Cluckers and even a vegetarian option. Amanda Landers highly recommends them, and they don’t limit their menu like the other trucks. I suggest getting two swipes for this one, as their sliders are delectable but small.
The most popular truck of them all, this punnily-named vehicle always draws massive lines, even until it gets dark. I have waited from around 6:30 p.m. to past 8 p.m., and it is absolutely worth it. They bombard your taste buds with their signature “Boom Boom sauce” on shrimp and chicken in the form of a wrap or boneless wings, and also feature fish and chips, tenders and fries and a jerk chicken rice bowl. Look for the smiling poultry and get ready to experience maximum flavor.
Dave's Jukebox Diner
As a kid, I used to frequent a 1950s diner-themed restaurant near my house, and its closure makes me yearn to this very day for that kind of lighthearted atmosphere and delicious food. Thankfully, we get a semblance of that in the form of a truck, with “rockin’ good food” like a jerk chicken sandwich and various kinds of cheeseburgers, each with their own culinary twist. Their meals are all served with fries and a brownie, for even more tastiness than they already deliver.
Owned and operated by a family of Navy veterans, this excellently-themed truck specializes in tacos, quesadillas and nachos, with awesome tortilla chips and perfectly spicy sauces and salsa. It’s one of my favorite trucks, and I can’t decide whether it’s because of the fun atmosphere it fosters or the fantastic Tex-Mex fare. Heck, it's probably both.
Bringing West Coast food to the opposite side of the country, this truck offers meaty and vegan burritos packed to bursting with lettuce, cheese, fries and sour cream, and they're rather huge, too. With crunchy chips on the side, one trip easily means a whole three-course meal: the chips and both halves of those gargantuan burritos. And don’t forget to snag a free sticker from them to promote their delicious truck.