Lunchtime Vendors Power Rankings Update

Written by Jack Whitehurst ‘20

A pair of wise philosophers and big men on campus, Fred Chang and Michael Jaffe, once said, “A good week of vendors can significantly raise the lunchtime mood.” Chang and Jaffe are absolutely correct in their statement as members of our community flock from all ends of campus to purchase food from one of the many food trucks that come to Durham Academy every year. This is a ranking of our community’s favorite food trucks based on survey results I collected in February.

photo by sierra brown ‘21

photo by sierra brown ‘21

Bottom 3:

1: Bull City Street Food: Unlike Mediterranean Bistro and Succotash, Bull City Street Food does have a percentage of people who call it their favorite. However, this only includes about 1 percent of those surveyed. In contrast, a whopping 13.7 percent of those surveyed called Bull City Street Food their least favorite vendor. One Durham Academy junior said, “They are a bit too experimental for me. I've only ever gotten a burger from them, but there were lots of ingredients I didn't even recognize on it. Also, they put icing on my burger which was interesting but gross.”

2: Succotash: None of the students surveyed call Succotash their favorite. However, Succotash is tied for second with China Palace for the percentage of people who listed it as their least favorite at 8.8 percent. One Durham Academy senior says that she doesn't like Succotash “Because it’s super expensive, especially for its portions.” This statement holds true, given that its prices for main dishes range from $10.50-$13.50. This number doesn’t even include the sides, which range from $4-$6. However, if you are willing to spend between $15-$20 for a relatively small meal, go right ahead.

3: Mediterranean Bistro: Mediterranean Bistro is ranks number three on DA’s least favorite food trucks. Although it is not actually in the bottom five percentage-wise (5.9%), no one calls this vendor their favorite. I have not seen very much of Mediterranean Bistro, which may be why it ranks so low.

Top 5:

5: Pie Pushers: Pie Pushers is Durham Academy’s favorite pizza vendor, racking up 8.8 percent of the vote, and has since become the only pizza vendor at DA due to its great-tasting food and reasonable prices. Slices range from $3-$5, and the truck menu features a variety of specialty pies as well. Basic pies are sold at $8 for a half and $12 for a full pizza, and the specialty pies sell for up to $18. The line to get Pie Pushers can get very long, so I suggest pre-ordering.

4: American Meltdown: American Meltdown ranks number four as it captures 9.8 percent of the vote. It adds special touches and ingredients to the basic grilled cheese. Sandwiches typically sell for $7-$8. One of the fan favorites for this truck is the brussel sprouts. My favorite menu item is “The Orchard,” as it blends a grilled ham-and-cheese sandwich with incredibly tasty apple slices. For the fourth-favorite truck, the line stays surprisingly short, so there is usually no need to pre-order.

3: Sitar: Sitar sits at number three as it racks up 12.7 percent of the vote. Unlike many other vendors, Sitar only serves three options, two of which are vegetarian. However, all of these options are delicious. The chicken tikka masala with rice and naan (oven-baked flatbread) costs $7, and it tastes great. You can also add chickpeas or other vegetarian options for the same price, and they taste equally as good. Drinks cost $1, so the vendor is relatively inexpensive to eat from. However, the line gets pretty long, and Sitar is one of the few vendors that doesn’t take pre-orders.

2: Only Burger: Only Burger ranks number two as it racks up 14.7 percent of the vote. Only Burger prides itself on the simplicity of the truck menu, and it led the charge in the emergence of the Durham food truck scene. The best-selling “Only Burger” starts at $4.99, comes with a single or double patty as the base, and allows the customer to fill the rest of the burger with toppings of their choice. The fries are very popular as well, and are hand-cut and fresh every single day. However, the wait time can be upwards of 15 minutes, so I suggest pre-ordering.

1: Bulkogi: Bulkogi is the clear favorite, gaining a landslide 27.5 percent of votes. Prices range from $5-$10, but the cost of your lunch depends entirely on the item because there are so many options to choose from. Some of the more popular items purchased from the truck are the Bulkogi rice plate, Korean BBQ tacos and burritos, and the steak and cheese sandwich. The people who work on the truck are incredibly kind, and they are also great at their jobs. They create mouthwatering delicacies, and they never give you the wrong order. My personal favorite menu item is the spicy beef tacos. The line at Bulkogi can get pretty long, but they arrive early enough so that it is fairly easy to pre-order, which I highly suggest doing.