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Shark Tank lobster truck, possible deli at Skillet: 5 updates from Duke Dining

At Thursday night’s Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee meeting, student representatives discussed the state of dining on Duke's campus with Robert Coffey, executive director of dining services, and Grayson Crabtree, training and customer service coordinator. 

Shark Tank lobster truck

Next week, DUSDAC members will sample food from a potential new food truck, Cousins Maine Lobster. If CML launches a food truck at Duke, it will be added to the rotation of food trucks that come to Duke’s campus weekly. 

However, unlike the other trucks frequenting campus, CML launched with a $55,000 investment from ABC’s Shark Tank in 2012 and has since acquired a net worth of $20 million as of 2016. There are currently a Cousins Maine Lobster restaurant and a food truck by the same name operating out of Raleigh, so this food truck would represent the franchise’s first step into Durham. 

Deli at Skillet?

DUSDAC members discussed potential changes to the Skillet menu during lunch to include deli-style bagels and bagel sandwiches. Skillet is run by Coleman Norris, the executive chef who also runs The Commons, JB's Roasts and Chops and The Chef’s Kitchen. Coffey mentioned that some of the Skillet food could be moved to JB’s to accommodate these changes. 

DUSDAC Co-Chair, senior Allie Rauch, offered the idea of extended breakfast hours, saying “I think people really overlook the value of breakfast for dinner.” 

New pop-up: burritos and tots

Coffey announced that Totrito will be the next pop-up to take over the Chef’s Kitchen in the Brodhead Center—an eatery featuring burritos, bowls and sweet potato and regular tater tots. Totrito will replace the current pop-up, Big Bowl, and begin its operations next Monday.

Vegan eats: cauliflower wings and soy nuggets

Rauch speculated that cauliflower wings, a popular plant-based alternative to chicken wings, could be added to either Il Forno or Devil’s Krafthouse. These lightly fried, breaded pieces of cauliflower previously were offered at Thrive, but since have been removed from the menu.

DUSDAC members turned their attention to a similar popular-plant based favorite: the Sprout soy nuggets. The recent addition of a gluten-free soy nugget provided more options for people with dietary restrictions eating in the Broadhead Center. However, this version appears to be popular among many students.

“Most students think that the gluten-free nuggets are better,” Rauch noted. 

Thrive thriving

Since Thrive’s move from Central Campus to Swift Apartments, sales have been better than expected. 

“Everything’s been really good since the transition to the new location,” said Saige Sunier, a senior on DUSDAC. 

With its increased success, Thrive expressed interest in becoming more environmentally friendly by composting their food and implementing Duke’s reusable to-go container program currently being rolled out in the Brodhead Center. As of now, Thrive has no composting setup and no reusable to-go boxes because of issues with sanitizing the containers in the Swift Apartment space. 

Thrive plans to switch up its menu once again after spring break to offer new options to students. 


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