The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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Vibrant food truck environment brings community together through freshness, energy

Sophomore+Dominic+Vaughan+stands+at+a+food+truck%2C+ready+to+order.+Students+say+that+the+food+trucks+on+South+Ellis+Avenue+offer+a+vibrant+environment+of+aromas%2C+people+and+fresh+foods.
Alex Diamond
Sophomore Dominic Vaughan stands at a food truck, ready to order. Students say that the food trucks on South Ellis Avenue offer a vibrant environment of aromas, people and fresh foods.

The lively buzz of conversations mixes with the crackle of griddles and the aroma of fresh ingredients. Customer to customer and from customers to owners, each food truck sends its own message and energy, attracting a variety of crowds along South Ellis Avenue.

These food trucks, each one with its own character and colors, beside the University of Chicago campus attract U-High students, some of whom prefer these options over lunch at school and even over local restaurants. Some say the trucks provide a better quality of food and visiting them has helped students create stronger bonds with their friends and connect with their community.

Junior Alexander Saratovsky prefers the food trucks due to the taste and the idea of supporting local businesses.

“It tastes better than anything we get at the cafeteria,” Alexander said, “and it’s good to know that you’re supporting local businesses instead of just paying for the company that gives us food at the cafeteria.”

Sophomore Julian Rossi said the truck offerings have advantages.

“It just feels like everything is a little bit more fresh,” Julian said. “I feel like there’s more of a guarantee when I go to the food trucks that they’re going to be fresh, just from the oven.”

David Johnston owns the Cheesie’s Truck, which sells sandwiches.

“We cook everything on site,” Mr. Johnston said. “In school food, they do a lot of prep work, and they kind of cook everything in the morning and put them in warmers. Everything here is just all done and made to order. So it’s not sitting around, it’s literally fresh off the grill right into the bag.”

Students’ appreciation of the food truck doesn’t just stem from the quality of the food. Julian said he has formed stronger bonds with his friends.

“Even if it’s just like one experience, I think that it does contribute to an overall strengthening of relationships, given the fact that you’re walking with them and talking with them,” Julian said. “Getting out of school kind of gives you the opportunity to have more real life experiences that are just kind of more spontaneous, and in a way that makes them more fun.”

In his trips to the trucks, senior Ellis Domenick said he’s made an unexpected connection with Francesco Abate, the owner of Da Pizza Dude.

“You can create some sort of bond with the food truck owner,” Ellis said. “I know that he once talked to me about expanding his business, which was kind of fun.”

Mr. Abate said the trucks and their customers create a vibrant, appealing mood along Ellis Avenue. 

“It’s all about energy and we are attached to energy in this block,” Mr. Abate said. “There’s 400 people on this sidewalk, and that energy is contagious to the human race. It makes your brain release some sort of endorphins that trigger you to be like, ‘Man, I have to be there. I want to see this. I want to feel it.’”

Mr. Johnston described the mood similarly.

“We’ve just tried to keep a good vibe here and try to keep a positive attitude and keep up with quick service, getting people in and out,” Mr. Johnston said. “That’s what the energy is.”

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About the Contributors
Edward Park
Edward Park, Assistant Editor
Edward Park is a member of the Class of 2025 and serves as an assistant editor. He joined the journalism staff in the 2022-23 school year as a sophomore. Outside of journalism, Edward enjoys watching sports and cooking for his family.
Alex Diamond
Alex Diamond, Photographer
Alex Diamond is a photojournalist and a member of the Class of 2026. His favorite part of photojournalism is taking photos. Outside of photojournalism, Alex enjoys hanging out with friends and learning new things. Awards: 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, Boston convention: Honorable mention, feature photo

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