By Elsa Buehler | Staff Writer
As was made clear during the food truck event last week, there is one magical factor that unites every Duquesne student: food.
Well, on April 20, there was plenty of good food to be found on Bluff Street, directly behind Mellon Hall. This was the day of the “Duq-A-Palooza Food Truck Frenzy” — a mouthful (literally) of an event hosted by Duquesne University’s Greek Life and Greek Ambassadors Program. According to Emily Rice, one of the event’s coordinators, “The Greek Ambassador program is a sophomore leadership program for Greek students, in an effort to create opportunities for leadership earlier on in their fraternal experience.”
If a love of good food is where we Duquesne students come together, it follows that we must have conflicting food preferences. Luckily, the Food Truck Frenzy offered a full spread of delicious options.
I spoke briefly to Regina Akhmetzyanov, co-owner of PGH Crepes Food Truck, about her business before the lunch rush hit. Regina told me that she and her husband, Ilmir, opened the food truck originally as a crepe cart in 2015. Since then, their business has taken off incredibly; they own a full food truck, hired a few employees, and even cater. Regina said that they are content with the current state of their company, but the opening of an actual restaurant could be a possibility for them.
Regina’s husband, Ilmir, is a native of Ufa, Russia, where crepes are an extremely popular dish. The couple’s website, pghcrepes.com, states, “our company wholeheartedly offers delicious, savory, and sweet crepes.” Sure enough, their mission is clear and simple.
PGH Crepes features a short, but carefully selected, menu of savory and sweet crepes ranging from around five to nine dollars a piece, as well as smoothies and Ilmir’s fresh-squeezed lemonade. The lemonade, I can personally assure you, was amazing, and was especially welcomed in the 80 degree heat. As for the crepes, Regina recommends their most popular strawberry banana crepe with Nutella.
Freshman speech pathology majors and St. Martin’s residents Alexis Speck and Brooke Berger really seemed to enjoy the food at PGH Crepes.
“The crepes were good! They were soft and gooey and warm…definitely worth the long wait,” Berger said.
Speck added, “Fabulous! Ten out of ten would recommend. S’mores is always worth it.”
Didn’t make it over to their stand? Maybe you just couldn’t get enough? PGH Crepes can be found in Oakland during lunch hours on many weekdays, and at various festivals and events on weekends. Their Twitter account (@pghcrepes) is the best way to keep up to date on where to find them around the city.
PGH Crepes was joined by six other food trucks at the event, said Rice. These trucks included Miss Meatball, Gyros N’at, Nakama, Franktuary, PGH Pierogi Truck and Oh My Grill. Rice said that she and the other event coordinators attended various food truck events around the city to find the best ones to bring to campus.
If you weren’t aware, the event had a dual purpose: not only to give convenient access to good food for students and faculty, but also to support philanthropies affiliated with Greek Life. Rice said that Rebecca Mickler, Director of Greek Life, suggested the idea to have the event, hoping that it would benefit those on campus hungry for lunch or dinner as well as Best Buddies and Circle of Sisterhood.
“We chose to support Best Buddies and Circle of Sisterhood because they are the philanthropies supported by the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council respectively,” Rice said. “Since this event was sponsored by the Greek Ambassadors Program in conjunction with Greek Life, we decided it would be a great way to raise money for each philanthropy.”
Circle of Sisterhood, Rice said, works to educate “impoverished young women and girls in underdeveloped nations around the world in order to give them a better life for themselves and their families,” and is the national philanthropy for the National Panhellenic Council in the United States. Best Buddies is an organization that pairs high school and college students with adults with disabilities to participate in fun, organized events.
The Food Truck Frenzy benefited the organizations in two ways: each truck paid a base fee to participate in the event and there were also donation jars set up at each station. Rice said that a Venmo account was even created so donations could be made with debit and credit cards. She was proud to announce that the event raked in around $750, which will be evenly split between the two philanthropies.
As a final note, Rice would like to add: “I just want to say thank you to everyone who helped make this event possible, without them it wouldn’t have been a success! Also, a huge thank you to everyone who came to eat and support the event, I hope the long lines were worth it!”
Thanks to the participating food trucks like PGH Crepes, and the hard work of many Greek Life members, the Food Truck Frenzy was a raging success, with lines clear up Mellon Hall’s back lawn all day. Hopefully, students can expect similar events in the semesters to come. Until then, we can just enjoy the fine cuisine that Hogan has to offer.