RUSKIN – Famished students attending the SouthShore campus of Hillsborough Community College now have an alternative to the stale sandwiches and sugar-loaded candy from the college’s vending machines.
Four days a week students can stave off hunger pains with an assortment of hot gourmet food from some of Tampa Bay’s most popular food trucks.
Staff and students at HCC have the opportunity to purchase lunch from two food trucks Monday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., thanks to the Tampa Bay Food Truck Rally Inc.
“Before the food trucks started coming, the students and staff at HCC SouthShore really didn’t have a lot of hot food options on campus,” said Kimberly French, community relations manager for HCC. “They either bought snacks from the vending machines in the bookstore or they went to the nearby convenience store.”
Hoping to improve the college’s menu options, HCC staff member Steven Urena approached Ty Gordon, director of operations for Tampa Bay Food Truck Rally Inc. and a member of the college’s advisory committee for entrepreneurship.
Tampa Bay Food Truck Rally Inc. books events for about 80 of Tampa Bay’s most popular food trucks.
“They really needed hot food on campus,” said Gordon. “All they had were three vending machines with candy, soda and sandwiches.”
Gordon said it was not only a great opportunity to introduce the staff and students to Tampa Bay Food Truck Rally’s offerings but it provided a new venue for the food truck owners.
“With a lack of permanent food facilities on site and nothing close by, the food trucks have been very well received at HCC,” said Gordon, adding the college provided a covered outdoor dining area.
“Every day, we provide different trucks so there is a variety of food to choose from – German food, wraps, seafood, paninis and so on,” he said. “It’s a win-win for both the food trucks and the students who are looking for delicious food.”
Among the food trucks serving the campus are Tallulah’s Table by the Sea, Pocket Rockets, Dochos, Rollin Zoinks, Der Wurstwagen, InLaw Subs, Wrap N Roll and Jimmy Meatballs.
Gordon said Tampa Bay Food Truck Rally Inc. will continue to provide food trucks throughout the school year.
“It has definitely been a success,” said French, who admits to sampling a few items from the food trucks herself. “The Tampa Bay Food Truck Rally representatives have been great. They’ve responded to requests from our students and staff for meal deals and a variety of options, and they have worked with us to find the best mix of foods at affordable prices.”
She added that anyone in the community is welcome to drop by between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and purchase items from the food trucks.
To see the food truck schedule for HCC SouthShore, visit www.tampabayfoodtruckrally.com.
D’Ann Lawrence White is a freelance writer who can be reached at [email protected]