If you walk down Spring Street in the early evening, you may miss the newest eatery. That’s because the mobile restaurant leaves town around 2 p.m. every day and often changes location.
Amanda’s on Wheels is Williamstown’s newest food truck. The truck is often stationed in the parking lot across from Tunnel City Coffee from Monday through Friday, serving up breakfast and lunch to hungry Ephs.
Not much larger than a van, the bright, multicolored truck is adorned with a large hamburger – a fairly confusing logo, considering that this particular item isn’t on the menu.
Amanda’s is based in Barrington, Mass., but due to local law, the food truck itself is not allowed to operate in Barrington. Thus, Williamstown became its primary location.
The food joint’s ability to travel to its customers instead of the other way around is an enticing bonus for time-pressed college students.
However, the College isn’t Amanda’s on Wheels’ only outlet. You can also find Amanda’s at Third Thursday festivals every third Thursday of the month in Pittsfield, at the Roots N’ Bluegrass Festival in Sturbridge and at other local street fairs, carnivals and events in the Berkshires
Though accessibility is the primary advantage of having a food truck over a restaurant, it sacrifices space for the convenience of mobility. “Space is really the biggest problem,” David Flax, an employee at the food truck, said. The truck holds a maximum of three people in the back.
Nonetheless, Amanda’s aims to create high-quality meals. “The truck serves a few staple items, like the Bahn Mi, but we will begin serving tacos in the morning and at lunch, and we will be flexible with the menu,” Flax said.
The truck’s star dish is the Bahn Mi sandwich, a Vietnamese sandwich with your choice of chicken, pork or hard-boiled egg with cilantro, pickled cabbage and homemade mayonnaise, all served on a baguette. The menu is an eclectic mix, combining the Asian sandwich, lobster tacos with homemade mango salsa and stylized American classics, such as seasoned bacon-wrapped russet potato wedges and spinach cranberry apple salad.
Flax feels confident about the ingredients in his recipes and the mission of the truck. “We try to be local and sustainable,” he said. Many items served are non-GMO, gluten free, nut free, low sodium and locally made.
For instance, the baguette that the Bahn Mi sandwich is served on is made by the Berkshire Mountain Bakery, known for its leavened yeast.
This slightly higher quality is reflected in the truck’s prices. A Bahn Mi sells for seven dollars and most sides cost five dollars, but for students looking to use their purchasing power to positively affect the food industry, Amanda’s is the perfect place to eat.
Lani Williams ’15 is an employee at Amanda’s On Wheels and enjoys learning about the culinary world. “We don’t have a lot of classes on [food] topics, so I thought this would be a great way to get in the door,” she said.
Williams is also an avid baker and was asked by her employer to compile an assortment of gluten-free recipes. Through this, she brings a recent trend toward gluten-free options to the Williamstown area.
While visiting Amanda’s, I decided to try the Bahn Mi sandwich with chicken. It was an interesting sandwich, all things considered.
The pickled cabbage was slightly sour, but the vegetables and homemade mayonnaise added crispness and mellowed out the strong taste.
Overall, it was a very subtly flavored sandwich – a nice alternative to the average dining hall mall and unlike anything that already exists on Spring Street.
The food truck, though relatively new to the neighborhood, has already attracted a lot of student attention.
“I see a lot of [students] coming out of the gym getting coffee and breakfast baguettes,” Williams said. “And we’ll soon be offering a student discount for those who show their student IDs.”
Many upperclassmen are relishing the opportunity to try something new after years of the same fare they purchased from neighboring food venues.
“I’m really excited to have a new, different option on Spring Street to spice things up from the dining hall and the many already existing restaurants,” Michelle Higgins ’14 said. “Plus, I really love food trucks.”
Amanda’s On Wheels cares about connecting with the community through its food, as well as through customers’ feedback. “The priority is to promote the community, the take away from the town,” Flax said. And they’ll gladly take suggestions on how to better serve the Williamstown area.
So if you’re looking to try out Williamstown’s newest selection, take the stroll to the end of Spring Street. Look around for the van (it’s in a slightly different place every day), and enjoy the convenient and delcious food that supports local industry. Amanda’s on Wheels will satisfy all your cravings.