Chartwells keeps on truckin’ with new mobile dining option

Earlier this summer, Chartwells, Oakland University’s on-campus food provider, announced the addition of a new food truck. Now, more details are available on the upcoming mobile food destination.

Dubbed “Smokey Paws BBQ,” the truck will serve barbecue-inspired food around campus.

“The truck will be open on a regular basis, Monday through Friday, during limited day time hours,” said Patrick Strzyinski, director of operations for Chartwells. “For the first year, we anticipate the truck being used through October and then being brought out of hibernation in March.”

Chartwells chose the name after a Facebook post that called upon students and faculty to give options for the truck by leaving a comment. Other suggested names included “Chartwheels,” “Grill and Bear It,” “4.0 BBQ” and “Bearly Edible,” amongst others.

“We started with over 100 suggestions and the Chartwells management team narrowed that down to five choices as requested by the university,” Strzyinski said. “From there, the suggestions were forwarded to representatives from OU that picked the final name.”

The truck is an 18 foot by seven foot GMC Utilimaster Workhorse. These trucks are designed for commercial sales use and are popular among food truck owners.

“We are exploring options of what can be done to enhance the truck,” Strzyinski said. “One thought was having portable high top tables for our guests that can be set up and broken down at the locations.”

At this time, Chartwells has yet to announce when the truck will make its debut on campus. Setup and serving locations are also still being worked over.

“We are awaiting approval from OUPD but we have identified areas near P-24 in the corner near P-36, P-18 between O’Dowd and the rec center and on the sidewalk just south of South Foundation Hall [as potential spots],” Strzyinski said. 

“I think it’s pretty exciting,” said Nick Hooper, an academic advisor in the School of Nursing. Hooper, who holds a master’s degree in counseling, has lived on campus for the past seven years and is no stranger to Chartwells, eating from a meal plan every semester.

“It’s something new that the students can look forward to and can be used for events like the tailgates and games,” Hooper said. 

Smokey Paws BBQ will bring an urban flare to a campus that is lacking in both urban and traditional college-town scenery.

“When you add a food truck into the scene, it changes the community a little bit,” said Emily Myers, an on-campus student who has been fed from a Chartwells meal plan for her first two years at OU. “[A food truck] adds a city vibe.”