Food trucks offer Huntsville Center employees unique lunch options

U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville
Published Sept. 4, 2014
Huntsville Center employees, Becky Sandoval and Andora Dothard, purchase food items from truck July 28.

Huntsville Center employees, Becky Sandoval and Andora Dothard, purchase food items from truck July 28.

A local merchant holds up cinnamon roll treat before making sale at Team Spirit  lunch event August 28.

A local merchant holds up cinnamon roll treat before making sale at Team Spirit lunch event August 28.

From the moment the first food truck pulled into the parking lot at Huntsville Center July 28, lunchtime at Huntsville Center has never been the same. And as long as Huntsville Center employees keep coming, the food trucks are here to stay.

"Part of our job is to provide conveniences to our employees," said Lequita Byrd-Craig, president of Huntsville Center's Activities Association. "Whether it is activities to relieve stress such as Team Spirit Day or providing creative lunch options like the food trucks during the work week, the Activities Association is working to improve morale and build esprit de corps at the organization. We know that employees are leaving the Center to pick up something for lunch or ordering takeout because we don't have a full service cafeteria. This means they have to deal with traffic and other stressors at lunchtime. We wanted to help with this problem so we brought the food trucks on board and gave them another option to stay."

Judging by the steady flow of traffic to and from the food truck on the days one is available, many have decided to take advantage of this option.

"I think having the food trucks here is good. The trucks have been on Redstone Arsenal for some time now and it's working out well. I'm glad these vendors have decided to include Huntsville Center on their route," said Victor Taylor, chief of Huntsville Center's Safety Office.

Taylor and his staff also worked with Huntsville Center's Security and Logistics offices to get some quick modifications done to the area to make sure the food trucks have a safe and secure location at the Center. The team put a large canopy in place near the food truck entrance to make sure the steady stream of employees traveling back and forth to purchase food can do so without any problems, especially during inclement weather conditions, made a few modifications to the east side privacy fence and parking lot and added a generator.

Employees said they appreciate Huntsville Center's leadership's decision to have the food trucks at the organization. It shows them someone cares about their quality of life in the workplace.

Pamela Brown, Andora Dothard, Tammy Moore and Becky Sandoval, all from the Center's Contracting Directorate, said they visit the food trucks on a regular basis. They said they've grown accustomed to the great food, good prices and obvious convenience the food trucks offer them.

"We like the pulled-pork sandwiches on Mondays. They're really good and so are the fries," Brown, Dothard and Sandoval all said.

"Having the canopy out there to shade the area and easy access is a plus for me. I've also grown fond of the tasty brisket tacos that are available to us on Wednesdays," Moore said.

Huntsville Center Commander Col. Robert Ruch introduced the current food truck vendors to Huntsville Center employees during the Center's Organization Day in June. Badd News Barbecue and Food Fighters Bustaurant served up food to more than 200 employees and their families during the event. Ruch said that the length of time the food trucks stay is left entirely to the employees. Service will continue only if profitable for the vendors.

There's more to come in the way of food truck vendors, said Byrd-Craig. Although the Activities Association thinks they have enough variety for now, there are lots of options to choose from – everything from lobsters to bacon to cupcakes and even snow cones. The Activities Association will bring in two new vendors to the Huntsville Center route this month. So far, visits from vendors that offer gourmet cinnamon rolls (Simply Cinnamon), pizza (Earth and Stone Wood Fired Pizza) and sandwiches (Follow Me, formerly known as Victoria's Café) are scheduled for Sept. 5 and Sept. 12, respectively.

Nicole Boone, Small Business Office; Bettie Doss, Resource Management Directorate; and Gail Gandy, Center Contracting Directorate all said they are excited about these new prospects.

"Barbecue is always a plus in this area (Huntsville and Madison County) so having a few vendors that offer good BBQ is great; the cinnamon rolls were delicious, melt in your mouth good," Gandy said. "We like having the food trucks here and want more of a variety of food items. If the Activities Association continues to offer us great quality in food, regardless of the cuisine, we'll continue to support them – keep them coming," Gandy said. Boone and Doss echoed, "Ditto."