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Reptile Cuisine?

UC-Riverside rolls out its Culinary Chameleon food truck

The University of California at Riverside is rolling out a 32-ft. food truck called the Culinary Chameleon on January 16. Initially, the menu will feature some familiar items from Taco Fresco, a popular eatery that was closed earlier this year due to construction, but it will evolve over time based upon customer input, and the truck's name and branding reflects the planned menu versatility, says Executive Director of Dining Services Cheryl Garner.

“We wanted our truck to have an identity that wouldn't change, even when the menu changed. We landed on the chameleon with input from students and staff because a chameleon changes it colors depending on where it lives — much the same as we will change our menu based on seasons, trends, times and customer feedback.”

Garner adds that the truck will service portions of the campus where there currently aren't other dining venues. “Food trucks allow us to lower our overall investment and maximize our versatility and location by going where the customer is, when they are there,” she notes.

The truck incorporates high-productivity kitchen equipment such as a four-basket deep fryer, a 4-ft. griddle surface, a cold-prep table and a three-well steam table as well as a three-door full-size refrigerator and single-door freezer — that will permit it to conduct up to a hundred transactions an hour.

There is also a public address system, a stereo system, security cameras on both the inside and the outside, a pair of air conditioning units and 500 watt halogen lighting around the perimeter of the truck. The total cost was about $250,000.

The truck will have a Facebook page and Twitter account to communicate about specials, promotions and locations. Payment will be with credit and debit cards, Bear Bucks and cash.

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