In recent weeks, Kenyon students have found themselves anxiously awaiting the arrival of Truckin’ Trav’s food truck on Friday and Saturday nights. The truck, which offers an array of comfort foods including the ever-popular cheeseburger and fries, seems to appear along Middle Path on weekends without much warning, prompting students to inquire about its presence in group chats and on Yik Yak. In an email interview with the Collegian, the food truck’s owner, Travis Moore, explained the history and motivations behind his business, and why he continues to serve patrons on the Hill.
Moore is not new to the food truck industry — this August will mark five years since the advent of Truckin’ Trav’s and many more years since Moore first became interested in breaking into the business. “Ever since I decided I wanted to cook for a living, I’ve always wanted to own my own food truck. That was over 14 years ago,” he said. Though Moore has achieved his goal in recent years, his journey has not been without setbacks. “My first food truck we almost completely built out ourselves,” he said. “A year and a half in while I was driving to an event, it caught fire in the engine and I watched my dream burn to the ground.” Despite the logistical and emotional difficulties that the fire caused, Moore was able to purchase a new truck, remodel the inside and redesign the Truckin’ Trav logo within three months of the accident.
Running his business out of a food truck as opposed to a brick-and-mortar restaurant affords Moore more flexibility: “A food truck is great because you can pick up and leave and change locations if the area isn’t busy.”
Moore’s decision to bring the truck to Kenyon was spurred by a tip from a customer he met while catering an event at Happy Street Brü Works in Mount Vernon. “I have done events with Kenyon in the past, but I never tried doing the late-night events for the students,” he said. “A customer told me about a family day that they were having at the campus. In my head, I thought it would be smart to open after [the Village Inn] closed and see if we got any kids to come up.” Moore’s business sense turned out to be spot-on: “To our surprise, the kids seemed to really enjoy us being there, so we came back the next day! It was never my initial plan to return, but everyone here is so kind and happy that we’re serving great food.”
The high-spirited attitude of Kenyon students plays a significant role in keeping Moore returning to campus on weekends. “In comparison to my late-night spots elsewhere, Kenyon students are an absolute joy to serve and be around,” he said. “This is one of the reasons I love coming back time and time again.” Like many of Moore’s other customers, there are some menu staples that students have been particularly drawn to. “Cheeseburgers and fries seem to be the number one item that these kids consistently enjoy. We make them all to order, as well as our fresh-cut fries.” In addition to his menu staples, Moore also changes it up occasionally to include other options: “In the past, we’ve done ramen bowls, our chicken noodle bowls, as well as our chicken and rice bowls. But the cheeseburger and fries seem to be a consistent combo.”
Truckin’ Trav’s is based in central Ohio. “I try to typically stay within an hour and a half [from Mansfield]. We typically serve locally, and then everything else is spread out everywhere between Sandusky, Mansfield, Columbus, Mount Vernon and Delaware.”
As for his schedule, Moore expressed that Kenyon students can “usually” expect him every Friday and Saturday night from 10:30 p.m. to 2:15 a.m. This will be welcome news to the many enthusiastic patrons that flock to Middle Path each weekend hoping for a midnight snack from a friendly face.
The schedule for Truckin’ Trav’s food truck is available at truckintrav.com. The business can also be found on Instagram @truckintrav and their Facebook page, Truckin Trav.