November 27, 2018

‘Food Truck Wednesday’ gets rolling at VUMC

New lunch options will be rolling onto Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s campus this week.

‘Food Truck Wednesday’ will be held each Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and features two local food trucks that will park in the grassy area between Light Hall and the VA Hospital. (photo by Anne Rayner)

by Tavia Smith

Health Plus has arranged for local food trucks to visit campus for lunch on Wednesdays and offer a variety of diverse food options for employees.

‘Food Truck Wednesday’ is held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and features two local food trucks that will park in the grassy area between Light Hall and the VA Hospital — the same location as the Flulapalooza event each fall.

In early November a soft opening was held, and two food trucks served approximately 200-250 in the VUMC community. There were only two trucks due to limited space and those trucks were busy for the three-hour period and had a sufficient supply of food. The food trucks operated like they would at a typical street fair, Awalt said.

“Food trucks have become popular in Nashville the last five or so years. The idea received a lot of ‘likes’ during IdeaShare and had been suggested in the President and CEO’s suggestion box multiple times,” said Traci Nordberg, Chief Human Resources Officer. “Drs. Balser and Pinson wanted to explore what it would take to bring the food trucks here and asked Health Plus to take the lead.”

On Wednesday, Nov. 28, food trucks from Doxie’s Pizza and Don Miguel’s Rustic Kitchen will be on campus.

Each vendor will accept cash or credit, and prices reflect typical restaurant lunch prices in the area. Since space is limited, diners should expect lines, come early and plan accordingly, Awalt said. There will be different trucks each week offering a variety of food, including healthy options. Healthy lunch options are identified on the food truck menus with the Vanderbilt Health & Wellness logo.

“I think bringing people together midday to go out, get something to eat, sit on the plaza and chat is a good thing,” said Brad Awalt, manager of Health Plus. “During our soft open, several came out in small groups, and it’s a community building activity that we can bring to campus weekly.”

A couple of years ago, VUMC launched IdeaShare, an interactive tool to share strategies, thoughts and ideas among diverse groups of people. Olin Gary Thomas, MS, MLS, gave a food truck presentation during the IdeaShare event. Thomas, who had recently joined Vanderbilt, previously worked at a hospital in Virginia that had a large street vendor presence.

“I thought having food trucks here at Vanderbilt would be a good change, because it gives people the chance to try foods from various cultures and not the same foods. The main point was that it encourages us all to get outside the clinical area and interface with other people from other departments.”

Thomas said food trucks and vendors support a healthy work culture and encourage employees to take a meaningful break.

“It pushes interpersonal relationships. We’ve all become ingrained to our phones, but this will help us put them down and see and taste something new.”

The website to view the monthly Vanderbilt food truck schedule is