Not Your Common(s) Dining Experience: DCCE Gets a Food Truck


Credit: Leah Belber ’26

Bates College Dining wants to give the people what they want, and the people want a food truck: “We wanted to have a late night [dining] option for students,” said Christine Schwartz, director of Dining, Conferences, and Campus Events (DCCE). Her team has talked about purchasing a food truck for ten years, but the closing of Chase Hall (and the beloved Den) for renovations spurred them to finally get the vehicle.

At the end of March 2022, the dining team began the designing process with plans to have the truck arrive in the fall. However, due to supply chain issues, its arrival was delayed until the week of Dec. 11—finals week of the fall semester.  

Understanding that a late-night option is an important part of social life on campus, Schwartz said that they wanted to cater to student wishes. 

The food truck drives the expansion of the campus dining program. “People want food brought to them,” Schwartz said, adding that she predicts that brick-and-mortar restaurants will slowly start to disappear and be replaced with mobile food options. To meet this desire for doorstep service, DCCE invested in the Curb Cats food truck.

The truck is set to reap some financial benefits. “It is significantly cheaper to run a food truck than it is to maintain a brick and mortar [restaurant],” Schwartz said. Where it took six people to run the den, the truck requires only three to four. In the wake of college budget reductions, these financial efficiencies are both beneficial and necessary.

What’s to become of the food truck when the Den returns? Not to worry: the Den will return to be used as a late-night dining option with modified hours. Schwartz indicated that DCCE would utilize the truck to free up the Den as an event space. 

On its first night of business, Schwartz reported good student reception at Curb Cats. “We actually did 99 tickets, which I thought was pretty good on a crappy night …I think, it’s gonna have a fair acceptability rate, especially once we get to the point where we can start moving it more where students are.”

On his first visit to the food truck, Alan Pham ’26 ordered french fries. “They were really good…a lot better than Commons french fries,” Pham said. To make the fries even better, Pham suggested adding a sauce corner in the to-go box and a little more salt.

After ordering mozzarella sticks from Curb Cats, James Hillers ’26 said, “They just hit the spot…they were crispy [and] delicious.”

The truck is just getting started. 

“The idea is to expand it, to do specials, to do gourmet tacos, gourmet grilled cheese, do bowls, do all sorts of different things,” Schwartz said. “[There’s an] unlimited number of ways in which this truck could enhance all of our experience here on campus.”

Curb Cats is set to be open on Thursday-Saturday nights from 9:00 p.m.- 12:00 a.m., weather permitting. It’s official, Bobcats: Commons is mobilizing.