A Dominican-style food truck paid a visit to the Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee at its meeting Thursday evening.

The Heights Dominican Kitchen is a Raleigh-based food truck that began in the summer of 2017. Billing itself as "Dominican food with a twist," the food truck offers traditional Dominican food with an American influence and is a family-run business. The Mejia family started the truck after moving to the Triangle area from New York and noticing an unfilled niche in the food truck market.

"It's really one of the things I saw in this area that was missing was kind of a Caribbean fair," said Yoki Feliz, a representative for the food truck. "Being in New York, you have Dominican, Puerto Rican, Cuban—you have different islands, Jamaica and Trinidad [and Tobago]. I grew up eating everybody's food, so when I came here, it was a little bit of a culture shock."

Main dishes from The Heights Dominican Kitchen include fried chicken chunks served alongside rice, beans and sweet plantains in addition to chicken tacos, complete with plantains, lettuce and pico de gallo. The truck also offers plantains, fried cheese squares with guava sauce and several different varieties of empanadas—including spinach, cheese and black beans—as sides.

Entrees run in the $10 range, with two chicken tacos costing $9 and a platter featuring chicken, rice and beans going for $10. The empanadas are $4, and a side of plantains or plantain fries costs $5.

Since the truck is family owned and the Mejias have full-time jobs, the truck typically runs only on the weekends. Mejia added, however, that it could operate on weekdays if they were given enough advance notice, but that she would not allow someone outside the family to run the truck.

"We don't give our truck to anybody else to run. Because I feel like if somebody doesn't like something, I want to hear about it—I want to be there," Feliz said.

The Heights Dominican Kitchen is also making strides to increase the healthiness of the menu.

"Since we just started, we're trying to add some things that are a little healthier," she said. "Not everything [is] fried, so grilled chicken instead of fried chicken."

Feliz also mentioned that the food truck is versatile in that it can revamp its menu depending on the clientele. For example, they serviced an elementary school fall festival last year and offered a selection of macaroni and cheese and miniature sliders.

This versatility extended to vegetarian and vegan options, she noted, as the truck always tries to feature a menu that would "cater to any special dietary needs."