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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, April 14, 2024

Local food trucks find home in Tufts community

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The Scoop N Scootery, started by Tufts alumnus Austin Crittenden (LA '13), now delivers ice cream to students.

Moe's BBQ Truck, which sits at the intersection of Professor's Row and Packard Ave. on weekend nights, has been well-known on campus for some time now. Recently, though, more and more local food trucks based in and around Somerville are finding a home around Tufts' campus.

Cambridge resident Dave Stuart, nicknamed “Moe,” started his food truck business at Tufts in 2007.

“When I went to college, there was no place to eat at night. So I decided to come over here and give it a try,” Stuart said. “I have enjoyed it, [and] the kids are all great. They are nice people, and I have had some fun times here.”

Moe’s BBQ Truck comes to Tufts every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night -- except in the winter -- feeding students hamburgers, sandwiches and hot dogs. The truck also goes to the Trum Field in Somerville during lunchtime Mondays through Fridays. According to Stuart, as compared with having a store front, a food truck is more convenient.

“It’s easier -- if I want to go to another place, I can just pick up and go,” he said.

Austin Crittenden (LA ’13), the founder of the Scoop N Scootery, an ice-cream delivery truck, expressed a similar sentiment about the advantages of food trucks.

“I was looking into a store front, but the food truck is a moving store front that I can go with to everywhere we want," he said. "[It has given us] the ability to go to any events that we want. So it is also a catering vehicle."

The Scoop N Scootery, which opened in June, delivers 16 different flavors of ice cream and frozen yogurt, plus 33 kinds of toppings, for no delivery charge (with no minimum). On Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, the truck can be found on College Ave. from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. It also has six other operating locations around Somerville.

According to Crittenden, the idea originated the summer after his junior year, when his fraternity was delivering ice cream with a freezer and scooper.

“I started this in college with two other friends ... [and] it evolved from four or five flavors," he said. "We tried to deliver cones and cups, and we were doing it with coolers and with ice. Everything was a mess failure. But it was the most fun I’ve ever had. And people were loving it even though we were bringing them puddles.”

Despite the convenience, owning a food truck is not without problems.

“Everything goes wrong all the time," Crittenden said. "It’s essentially a new business type, [and] you are putting in all the equipment that is not made for a truck. Owning a food truck is an adventure -- no day is the same.”

A slight variation from the food truck, Sweet Idea has been delivering cookies by bicycle -- wearing orange jumpsuits -- since 2012.

“We wear these orange jumpsuits as our uniforms, [and] that got a lot of people’s attention. People tried out the cookies, and that’s how we got started,” John Piermarini, founder of Sweet Idea, said. “The idea is that we are always present in these specific times and places, and you can always have what you want for you.”

According to Piermarini, the bike has offered a level of convenience of its own in door-to-door delivery.

To do delivery off the bike, it is quiet, especially when you work at night," he said. "And it is very safe, and eco-friendly. It is a great way to get around, and it is faster than doing delivery by cars.”

In contrast, Medford local Mary McPartland, the founder of Boston ice cream truck Frozen Hoagies, has decided to open a store in Somerville later this October. McPartland said she began with a food truck because it was more affordable.

According to McPartland, the proximity to Tufts will be a critical component of the new store. Crittenden agreed that the Tufts student body has been important to his food truck’s success.

“I see a student body that is willing to accept new things and [is made up of] adventurous people that are very interested in something that is emerging, that is new,” Crittenden said. “I know that they would give me a chance. I see Tufts students come over to the food truck and are fascinated by it and are genuinely interested.”

Piermarini also commented on the support from the Tufts campus.

“Tufts has been really good for Sweet Idea," he said. "I really enjoy it here. I have so many fun memories when I first started here, and how supportive people were, and very involved. It was awesome to have so much support from people who are just completely strangers weeks ago.”

Having been around Tufts campus for seven years, Stuart has enjoyed his time here through chatting with students from all over the world.

“The diversity of the students here [is my favorite part],” he said. “I’ve met kids from Pakistan, Kenya, from all over the world. And it’s interesting, and I got to be friends with them, and it turns out to be fun."