Fleet of food trucks expands selection on campus


Photo: Brandi Boyett/Iowa State Daily

Finley’s Curbside Beastro owner Tim Little takes an order from inside the truck. He says most popular is the Southwest Dog, an all beef hot dog wrapped in bacon and covered with red cabbage and chipotle mayo. Finley’s also offers a vegetarian option, the Hippie Burger, made up of a portobello mushroom cap patty.

Bailey Mcgrath

Students and faculty will notice new additions to the ISU campus during the lunch hours as the new school year kicks off.

Three new vendors — Smokin G’s BBQ, Battle’s Barbeque, and Indian Delights — will join Finley’s Curbside Beastro with food stands or trucks between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays.

Finley’s Curbside Beastro was set up in May 2013 during Dead Week and has continued its business on campus throughout the summer. After seeing its success, Iowa State decided to expand the vendor options.

“That’s why we decided to add three more locations that kind of surround different portions of campus that either have large auditoriums or are busy enough to support a vendor to see if we could get a better test,” said Cory Harms, associate director of purchasing.

The increase in enrollment was one of the main deciding factors of these additions. Existing venues for food are already busy, and there was no time to create new ones, Harms said.

“There was a lot of interest from students and faculty and staff to have food options on campus for lunch,” Harms said. “We wanted to add something that would be convenient and hopefully affordable.”

ISU staff went out and explored local farmers markets and asked different vendors if they would have any interest in adding a stand to Iowa State’s campus.

“It really took the first three to respond and come up and visit, and that would give us a test group through June of next year,” Harms said. “[These four vendors’ experience will help decide] whether we want to expand it, do away with it or leave it the same.”

Harms believes the new vendors will not affect the business at ISU Dining locations, especially since a majority of people on campus are not on a dining plan.

“It’s nice for those folks to have an option to eat too, especially in a place where there isn’t a dining place available,” Harms said.

Vendors stationed out of Ames are hoping this will help them reach more of the ISU community.

“We want to have more visibility in the local community … and have a little more business,” said Dipak Biswas, owner of Indian Delights.

Indian Delights sees a lot of students and faculty at their sit down restaurant already, but Biswas said they are excited to see everyone on campus.

Battle’s Barbeque also is looking forward to this exposure as well.

“A big thing for us is, even though we are pretty close to campus, we don’t have lot of exposure to students,” said Chad Watkins, general manager of Battle’s Barbeque. “This is a good opportunity to reach students.”

All the vendors are going to try to have tax included and have rounded prices so it is as convenient as possible for their customers, Harms said.

“Right now they all accept cash, and two of the four do credit cards now,” Harms said. “But, hopefully by September all of them will be able to accept credit cards.”

All of the vendors will be open as long as the weather permits.

“I know that a couple of the units are enclosed, and they might try to serve in the winter if there’s still traffic,” Harms said.

Iowa State might expand its food stand options someday, but for right now, Harms said, the university just wants to offer a few more options for people without them having to leave campus.

“We’d rather start small and see how it goes,” Harms said.