Business on campus: Kildee food trucks


Emily Blobaum/Iowa State Daily

A student orders lunch at the Carlos’ Quesadillas and Tacos food truck outside Kildee Hall. Carlos’ Quesadillas has been in business for over ten years, and strives to purchase its ingredients from local, family-owned farms. 

Megan Salo

There are about eight food trucks on Iowa State’s campus that provide lunch options for students as an alternative to dining halls. These trucks are located near the Bessey, Coover, Hoover, Carver and Kildee halls. 

Three food trucks are located near Kildee Hall. Find out why they chose the food truck business, why they brought their food truck to Iowa State and why they chose this location: 

Q: Why did you decide to start a food truck?

Carlos Cortez, owner of Carlos Quesadillas: “I wanted a business and I think food trucks are getting very popular.”

Tim Little, owner of Finley’s Curbside Beastro: “I used to do a lot of tent stuff, like festivals. I got tired of putting everything together and taking it apart, so I started the food truck six years ago.”

Q: Why did you decide to bring the truck to Iowa State’s campus?

Thomas Kein, employee of Salt and Pretzel Company: “My boss is an alum of Iowa State. He graduated last year and found this online and he just decided, ‘Hey this works, we’ll just do this every day.’”

Little: “The market. It’s a good market. When you think about it, a food truck only needs about a hundred customers a day, you know, to make a difference and there’s 36,000 students on campus and we’re not asking for them all.”

Q: Why did you choose this location?

Cortez: “Well, I started on Welch Avenue four years ago. I had the opportunity to apply here at Iowa State and six months later, they told me I could set up here, so that’s how we started.”

Little: “I was the first food truck here on campus and I was given like five sites to look at and I just always came back to this one. This had the more people in it, so I think this is one of the best spots. I really think that.”

Q: What is the best seller on your menu?

Cortez: “Quesadillas, either steak or chicken. The tacos are very good as well, but that’s why I have the name ‘Carlos Quesadillas,’ because I started selling more quesadillas than tacos.”

Kein: “The Ripper. It’s a deep fried hot dog in a pretzel bun with fries and bacon.”

All three food trucks are open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday next to Kildee Hall.