Central Campus residents beware—Dame's Express will not be returning to Duke next semester.

At its Monday meeting, the Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee discussed dining options to replace Dame's Express on Central Campus starting in January 2018.

Robert Coffey, director of dining services, shared that Dame's Express will not be renewing its contract with Duke, which ends in December 2017. He explained that the Central Campus eatery was "kind of up and down" in terms of its food quality and its hours of operation. 

"[Dame's Express] came to the conclusion that they need to focus on their off-campus locations," Coffey said.

Though, the new restaurant has not been chosen yet, Coffey mentioned that several businesses have expressed interest in the location, including The Picnic Basket Catering. 

However, Coffey noted that filling the vacancy will not necessarily be easy, since Central Campus will likely phase out 18 months after January 2018. For this reason, Coffey explained that a more viable option may be to replace Dame's Express with an eatery already located on-campus.

Food Trucks on West Campus

The committee also discussed where the food trucks on West Campus will park while the Kilgo parking lot undergoes construction. Construction of the area was supposed to already be completed, but it has only just begun after a permit issue delayed its start, said Aris Marton, assistant director of retail operations for Duke Dining.

"I’m meeting with [Parking and Transportation Services] tomorrow to see what other options are there [for food trucks]," Marton said. "Unfortunately, there aren’t many."

She explained that food trucks must be parked in an area easily accessible to students and that also has good wifi connection, since the trucks need wifi in order to take food points. Marton mentioned one potential parking spot for the trucks was by the Duke Student Wellness Center, but said she worried about its poor wifi connection and location "off the beaten path."

Marton said she did not expect the construction to be over before the end of October. She added that an alternative to having a truck on West Campus this semester would be to have two food trucks at 300 Swift.

"I would say we should try to keep one [food truck] on West," said senior Kate Scandura, a DUSDAC committee member.

There is currently a Qspresso food truck parked at Environment Hall during the week due the closing of Blue Express late last semester. However, Captain Poncho's food truck, which served Mexican cuisine, did not renew its contract over the summer. 

"As of now we don’t have a truck to fill the spot," Marton said.

However, Marton did share that several food trucks have contacted her about the possibility of coming to campus.


At the meeting, DUSDAC briefly celebrated the awards Duke won over the summer for its dining. Duke won three awards from the National Association of College and University Food Services—including a gold award for its sustainability procurement plan, as well a gold award in retail and the grand prize for the Richard H. Brodhead Center for Campus Life.