As the deadline for deciding next year’s food truck rotation approaches, the Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee sampled Mac-Ur-Roni, a macaroni and cheese food truck on Monday.
DUSDAC members praised the truck for its quality, satisfying options and reasonable pricing. During the meeting, the committee also discussed the existing Merchants on Points options and an upcoming survey they are developing to gather student body’s food truck preferences once they complete their evaluation of trucks including Mac-Ur-Roni.
“This is a really good value for the price and it’s fast,” senior Grace Dulik said.
Co-chair of DUSDAC Caiti Slattery, also a senior, added that it only took about three minutes for Dulik’s order of two dishes to be ready. DUSDAC members also noted that the truck is well-organized—customers order from one side of the truck and then wait for the food on the other side.
The truck is also accustomed to serving high traffic. When he serves during a lunch period of two hours, truck owner Scott Freiermuth said he expects to get a minimum of 70 customers.
“I can get through quite a few customers. I like to stay busy," he said, noting that he can handle rushes of customers and will hire an extra person on the truck if business necessitates it. “I can easily do 100 in an hour.”
Freiermuth is a self-proclaimed mac and cheese enthusiast, as he noted it was his favorite food and the first food he could make for himself. He opened the truck last April, after already spending time working in the food industry.
Mac-Ur-Roni has all of its lunch spots committed for the rest of the year, but dinner is more flexible and could add the University to its schedule, Freiermuth said. He noted that he mostly serves near office buildings at Research Triangle Park, but also spends some time in downtown Durham and Raleigh.
“As of now, I’m not on any other campuses, but I will probably be at [North Carolina State University] by the end of the year,” Freiermuth said.
A small serving of “The Homewrecker”—one of Mac-Ur-Roni’s most popular dishes—costs $7, a medium costs $8 and a tub costs $9. DUSDAC members agreed that this pricing was very reasonable given how much food customers are provided with each portion.
Freiermuth said he has a gluten-free option, which consists of a broccoli base with cheese sauce on top. He said most of the vegetables he uses in recipes are fresh, except the broccoli, which he noted is actually more flavorful if it is frozen individually.
DUSDAC members spoke enthusiastically about adding Mac-Ur-Roni to next year’s rotation, noting that the only other truck that serves macaroni is Foster’s on the Fly. However, they noted that adding both Mac-Ur-Roni and Pie Pushers—a pizza-focused food truck also under consideration by DUSDAC—would be too much.
“This is more filling for the same price,” Dulik said.
Members also brainstormed possible additions and replacements within the Merchants on Points program, including searching for a Mexican vendor that delivers and an option such as Vine Sushi and Thai.
"Delivery sushi would be hugely popular,” Dulik noted.
DUSDAC may decide to replace chains currently in Merchants on Points—specifically Dominos and Pizza Hut—with local Durham alternatives, Slattery noted.
Slattery concluded the meeting by saying that senior Chris Taylor, the other co-chair of the committee, had developed the survey on food trucks to send out to the student body in the near future. The committee will use this information in their determination of next year’s food truck rotation.