The Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee met Monday evening to sample CJ’s Street Food, an Asian fusion food truck.
DUSDAC members are sampling local food trucks to determine those that will be offering dinner in the Fall. Director of Duke Dining Services Robert Coffey informed members that food trucks will no longer be on campus during lunch hours due to limited space.
After sampling food from CJ’s Street Food, DUSDAC members noted the high quality of ingredients as well as its novelty Asian-inspired tacos, burritos and fried rice.
“These tacos taste better than Captain Poncho’s [a current dinner food truck],” said DUSDAC member Billy Silk, a sophomore. “And this, unlike the quesadillas at Captain Poncho’s, is something you can’t get at Penn Pavilion.”
CJ’s Street Food opened one year ago, when Durham-based chef Mark Thomas and Traci Thomas, his wife, decided to go into the food truck industry.
“I had been in high-end fine dining,” Mark Thomas said. “I wanted to cook for myself.”
He said that the truck can be found at business parks across the Research Triangle area. They also frequent food truck rodeos in Durham and Raleigh in addition to offering catering services.
Customer favorites include the tilapia tacos and the spicy kimchi tacos, Mark Thomas noted. Members of DUSDAC agreed that these were strong specials. Thomas said that when customers enjoy a special, he always brings it back.
DUSDAC members noted the Thomas’ professionalism and their truck’s high health rating.
“He even gave out a print-out,” said DUSDAC member Betsy Mansfield, a sophomore. “That is very professional.”
Members of DUSDAC noted that the truck’s competitive pairing of reasonable prices with compelling deals, such as two tacos with fried rice for $10.
They are accustomed to serving crowds at a fast pace, Mark Thomas said, noting that he constructed the menu with quick recipes. CJ’s Street Food served 600 people at the Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo and typically serves 60 to 70 customers during lunch hours at RTP business parks.
“We are one of the faster, more efficient trucks in the area. If you are waiting more than ten minutes for your food, you are seeing us on a bad day,” Thomas said. “If we hit 80 people for dinner at Duke, I would be more than happy.”