Food options get more diverse

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David Minton/DRC
The Nammi Truck sits in an alley outside the UNT Language Building near Fry Street. Nammi is one of several food trucks that frequent the UNT campus, Wednesday, September 26, 2012, in Denton, TX.
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The University of North Texas is offering students a Vietnamese dining option a couple times a week.

Nammi food truck is serving Vietnamese fusion food, including banh mi, tacos, spring rolls and rice bowls.

Ken Botts, special projects manager in the food department at UNT, said food trucks add color to the campus.

“I think it’s an exciting opportunity, not only for the students from a culinary stand point but for the community,” he said.

The Nammi truck was first introduced to Denton during 35 Denton and then at Wet Hot Mess — both local music festivals.

Gary Torres, who co-owns the business with Teena Nguyen, calls the people who live in Denton “adventurous” and willing to try new foods.

The truck is on campus from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. And Torres encourages community members to try the food.

The truck is best known for its Vietnamese sandwiches — banh mi. The vegetables are cut fresh every day and the garlic mayo spread is homemade, Torres said.

Torres and Nguyen both have degrees in architecture, but the opportunity came along to own a food truck and they decided to give it a go.

“It started as a side project,” Torres said. “You can’t do this thing part time.”

The Nammi truck can often be found in the Arts District in Dallas, Addison, Irving and Fort Worth.

“We try to spread it out as much as possible,” Torres said.

Gavin Peterson and Alyssa Miller, art students at UNT, sat outside Curry Hall eating honey grilled pork rice bowls Wednesday.

They said they were put off by other food trucks on campus because a lot of the items offered are fried.

“I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to have on Fry Street,” Miller said. “I just wouldn’t eat it.”

They feel the Nammi truck is a healthier option.

UNT is rotating through food trucks. Others that have served food on campus have been the Angry Friar, Lee’s Grilled Cheese and Twisted Grub.

“It actually started with our own concept,” Botts said. “We developed one internally.”

UNT’s version of a food truck is Khush Roti (Happy Bread), which is near the General Academic Building on campus and serves international-flavored sandwiches.

Based on the popularity of Khush Roti, UNT decided to offer similar options by contracting food trucks, Botts said.

The Nammi truck sits between Curry Hall and the Language Building.

While the food truck is allowed on the UNT campus, code limitations keep it from serving food outside the campus in Denton.

The university doesn’t have the same regulations as the city, Botts said. UNT’s health inspector checks the trucks, he said.

UNT takes a commission from the daily sales of the food trucks. On average, it’s about 10 percent, Botts said, but it varies.

“For us, it’s not a money-making venture; it’s more about creating variety,” he said. “That’s really the driver behind it.”

It creates a culinary subculture, he said.

“Denton should really embrace that,” he said. “It fits what Denton is all about. It’s about diversity.”

RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is rmehlhaff@dentonrc.com .

ON THE WEB

http://nammitruck.com


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