BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — It’s a sight you’d expect to see in Austin, dozens of hungry people lined up outside a food truck, ready to eat. Now the Austin staple can be found at various schools in Bastrop during lunchtime.
“[Last year] I started bringing my lunch to school every day just because it wasn’t good food. Now I bring my lunch a lot less, because this stuff is amazing,” said Sutton Lindsley, a Bastrop High School student who serves on the Superintendent Student Advisory Council.
He and other students wanted to not only improve the food on campus, but do something to get students more excited about school lunches.
Superintendent Steve Murray says a lot of decisions like this are made with student input. “They said, ‘Ya know, we love Austin because Austin has culture and food trailer parks, could we ever do that Mr. Murray?’ And that’s where the decision grew, out of that discussion.”
Students got to test out different companies and decide which one was the best fit. They went with Southwest Foodservice Excellence (SFE), saying it was an easy choice.
“Most of our items are lower in fat, lower in sodium, they still have to meet all the compliance. We’re doing it with chicken, or with low-fat beef. We prepare our own pulled pork, pulled beef,” said Garrett Caughey, Food Services Director for Bastrop ISD and SFE.
The food is made from scratch, prepped in the standard kitchen and then brought to the trailer to be cooked and delivered.
On the menu you’ll find American classics, like a Chicago dog, Philly cheesesteak and pulled pork sandwich. It’s the first district SFE has brought food trucks to. “It really does taste like it’s coming out of Chicago which is really nice, I like Chicago food,” said 11th grader, Kara Garguilo. “Especially for school food, I was really surprised when I first had it!”
For some students, it’s their first taste of food truck culture. Celeste Nevares is also on the Student Advisory Council, “We have the power to change things at our school and actually improve it for ourselves.”
The district says the new concept doesn’t cost them, or students more money. The meal can be reimbursed, just like any other meal the student chooses. District officials say it not only gives students more options, but helps ease congestion in the other food lines. “I think a lot of students would like the chance to try things, that they couldn’t try beforehand,” said Garguilo.
The trucks rotate between the various high schools and middle schools in Bastrop. SFE says other districts, like Hays and Leander, are now interested in replicating the concept at their schools.