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The Night Truck

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Independent, student-run eateries on wheels are giving Hampshire students options outside of the traditional Dining Commons or Bridge Café.

Jake Hawkesworth

Last semester, students were introduced to Stephen Akbeg's Simply Waffles, a fully outfitted, renovated mail truck serving fresh Belgian waffles on the weekends. This semester, Jake Hawkesworth pioneered his vision, dubbed The Night Truck, a purple-painted converted milk-truck serving a menu of Americana favorites, and even falafel.

"I was in the dorms last year, and it seemed really crazy to have all of these students and no late night food places," said Hawkesworth. The Bridge Café is one spot on campus to indulge your later cravings, but it's quite a walk from Dakin, and still closes at 11. "I'm hoping this can start to fill some of that space," he said. His eatery operates from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., Thursday through Sunday.

Besides satisfying fellow student's stomachs, Hawkesworth has a bigger-picture mentality when it comes to his business: "A big piece of it has become bringing another community aspect to Hampshire, because I think food and community go hand in hand." He also imagines his, as well as Akbeg's, project as new ways of interweaving entrepreneurship into the Hampshire experience. "I'm hoping to manage it for a while, and then want to pass it on as a profitable business."

It took Hawkesworth a semester to outfit his truck—complying with fire codes, business paperwork, as well as cheap fixes, became routine. "I became more of a handyman than I ever thought," he laughed. But, the work was well worth it. So far, he has had a very successful run, and will continue through the end of the semester, serving behind the Dakin K entrance.

The future of The Night Truck? Well, the answer lies in the customers. "I'm hoping that it becomes a staple in the Hampshire community," Hawkesworth stated.

The Night Truck website

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