Students returned from spring break to several changes in their dining options, most notably the new MoGo Chef food truck that parks between the Stony Brook Union and Melville Library on weekdays.
The new truck promises customers gourmet grab-and-go food made from fresh and local ingredients and has a core menu with rotating weekly specials, like cajun fish tacos and a grilled chicken tzatziki wrap.
Mogo Chef replaces the Grey Horse Tavern Rolling Kitchen, which recently ended an agreement with the university due to low sales.
Just like the old truck, MoGo Chef does not accept meal points and has no plans to accept them in the future, according to Angela Agnello, the director of marketing and communications at the Faculty Student Association. But according to Vito Coraci—who operates the truck with his wife, Geralyn, a Stony Brook University alumna—students can make payments with their credit cards through a app called Square Up.
The couple, from Shoreham, N.Y., entered the food truck industry in 2011 after losing their jobs in the financial crisis, according to the MoGo Chef website.
But the truck is not the only change in campus dining this year.
The coffee brand Farmer’s Brothers has replaced Seattle’s Best in the Student Activities Center, the Stony Brook Union Commons and Kelly Dining.
The FSA has also introduced new cutlery procedures in the dining commons. Utensils are now dispensed from a single dispense utensil holder in an effort to reduce cutlery waste and make the process more sanitary. The utensils are also compostable.
And another new food choice on campus is an ice cream cart that resides in front of the administration building from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Thursday. The cart also only accepts cash and sells several kinds of Hershey’s ice cream bars for $2.50, Ben & Jerry’s
novelty pops for $3.50 and bottled drinks for $2.00.
The changes will continue next semester as well. California Pizza Kitchen at Roth Food Court will no longer be here in the fall. The Meal Plan Resolutions Committee is discussing replacement possibilities.
Another campus initiative to offer a different dining experience to students was Farm to Fork.
For the week of April 16 to 20, Roth, the Union and Kelly were sourced by local farmers. As part of Earthstock celebrations, the food was prepared from ingredients originating within a 150-mile radius of Stony Brook.
MoGo Chef will remain on campus until the end of the spring semester, and the FSA is “actively soliciting feedback before making a decision about next semester,” according to Agnello.
In regards to whether or not the truck returns, Coraci said that he would like to see MoGo Chef become a permanent fixture on campus.
“Naturally, we want to stay on campus for the long-term and hope that is what the students want,” Agnello said.
Prices at MoGo Chef range from $2.50 for items like jumbo chocolate chip cookies to $10, for items like cheese steak heroes. Options like a Middle Eastern chick pea salad, $4, and a smashed onion burger, $7, are also available.
Coraci said in an email that he and his wife are in touch with what young people want, as they have two college-aged children.
“We did countless hours of research and focused our menu on what people like best,” Coraci said in an email interview. “Since we have been in business for over a year, we have had some time to test market our full menu, making adjustments, adding new items, while eliminating others.”
The truck originally operated weekdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. but has already expanded hours to 8 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays to serve breakfast options like buttermilk whole wheat pancakes with fresh fruit and whipped cream.
“We are gradually increasing our hours of operation as the students become more familiar with our presence,” Coraci said.
Coraci has a background in marketing and has implemented his knowledge into the design of the business to appeal to students. Besides Square Up, MoGo Chef has QR code stickers—barcode-like images that can be scanned by smartphones—and a phone number for customers to text which sign them up for alerts about special offers and promotions.