Food trucks are popping up everywhere. People seem to love them—especially college students. Thanks to to the fact that they are on wheels, they can get close to your on-campus classes during the day and right across the street from your favorite bar at night. It's about time you check out these five UIUC trucks.
Cracked: The Egg Came First
Cracked Truck, a breakfast food truck created by University of Illinois graduates, is probably one of the most well-known food trucks on campus. College students seem to have a weird obsession with breakfast sandwiches, so Cracked is just what all of us need.
If you live or have class far into Urbana, you probably eat it for breakfast, and if you’re out during the week or and find yourself on Fifth Street, you’re probably eating it as drunchies. Either way, it's one of the most popular food trucks on campus and if you graduate not having eaten there, did you really go to U of I?
What to Order: The Morning Bender and White Cheddar Bacon Tots if you’re really hungry.
#SpoonTip: Opt for sweet and spicy cream cheese on your Morning Bender and you won’t be disappointed.
Derald's Food Truck
Every college campus needs a classic food truck like Derald’s. It’s been here for over 30 years making it the longest standing food truck at UIUC. It is conveniently located right next to the Main Quad on weekdays.
They have breakfast sandwiches, lunch sandwiches and burgers. If you’re in the mood for a diner-esque meal, Derald’s is sure to hit the spot. They are famous for their fish sandwich, which we should consider ourselves blessed to have, as it is only available on Friday.
What to Order: Derald’s Famous Fish Sandwich, obviously.
Pandamonium is the Dominique Ansel (creator of the Cronut) of UIUC. You have to wake up at the break of dawn to get to Pandamonium by 7 am to get one of these gourmet doughnuts. Yes, that’s right, they sell-out bright and early every day (usually by around 10 am they are gone).
And if it’s not because of how Instagram-able these doughnuts are, it’s probably because they are handmade often with organic and local ingredients. You can literally taste all the careful, creative craft that went into each sugar-filled bite.
What to Order: The menu changes every day with about five doughnuts, but if you catch a day that has s’mores or cookie dough, I would definitely recommend stocking up.
#SpoonTip: Since Pandamonium’s menu changes every day, follow them on Instagram where they usually post the next days flavors the night before. That way you’ll know if they’ll be selling your fave flavor.
Caribbean Grill is typically a bit of a hike from campus but it’s definitely worth it since you really can’t get this kind of food anywhere else in Champaign. Being on a college budget, I can only justify buying food that I can’t make myself—and this is definitely one of those instances.
The jerk chicken is easily the best thing on the menu and the pineapple rum cake is on my foodie bucket list. You can catch Caribbean Grill on Thursday’s especially as they are on campus at Goodwin and Oregon near Krannert. Follow them on Facebook to stay updated with their location and hours.
What to Order: Fried plantains are my go-to.
#SpoonTip: Get the meal because you can try everything and determine what you like. Then, next time you might decide you only want plantains as a snack and or rice ‘n peas.
The Burrito King Food Truck is basically Burrito King (RIP Tortica’s) with a smaller menu and a lot more fun to go to. If you’re on the northeast end of campus during the day, it’s hard to miss this truck. Not only does it have a new bright red look this year, but it is always packed with people on Goodwin and Green at lunchtime.
This might be surprising if you thought Burrito King was only a late-night post-bars spot. It is in fact a great place to eat all hours of the day in a restaurant or at a truck. Make sure to keep checking their Facebook for updated locations.
What to Order: I’m a sucker for Nachos, but the most popular bite is probably the King Burrito.Fortunately for all the food truck lovers, the list of C-U food trucks doesn’t end there. Check them out every Saturday morning at the Urbana Farmer’s Market. Also, in the summer, keep your ears and eyes peeled for the C-U food truck festival. We have a thriving little community of gourmet and fast food food trucks.