Mary Ellen’s Food for the Soul food truck moved inside the Nebraska Union to continue serving food to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln community during the winter.
The food truck was outside the union until the temperature started to drop and moved inside on Monday, Dec. 3. According to interim director of Nebraska Unions Ryan Lahne, UNL wanted to continue their partnership with Mary Ellen’s to give students another meal option until Chick-fil-A and Steak ‘n Shake open during the middle of the spring semester.
Charles Phillips, the owner of Mary Ellen’s, said the restaurant will have a table set up by the NCard office Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. or whenever food runs out. Lahne said the restaurant will not be in the union during winter break.
“There was mutual interest in having them continue to provide a different option [for food], and it was kind of a no brainer for us,” Lahne said.
Lahne said UNL chose to continue their partnership with Mary Ellen’s as opposed to other food trucks because they were the most regular food truck outside the union, and students enjoy their food.
Mary Ellen’s sold food to at least 75 people each day while outside the union, and some days had as many as 200 customers, according to Phillips. Since the table was set up, Phillips and Lahne said many students have purchased food from the restaurant, and they even sold out during their second day inside.
“They’re still trying to adjust quantities to make sure they meet the entire demand, but I think that the popularity has been pretty quick already,” Lahne said. “They have a really good following from their food truck that has been here, so I think it’s been really well received.”
Phillips said activity was fairly slow on Monday, but he’s adjusting to the new space.
“We’re kind of feeling it out,” he said. “It’s like when we started outside. We had a little learning curve process learning what people like to eat [and] changes in the menu.”
Phillips said he doesn’t expect any other complications adjusting to the space. The restaurant caters frequently so he is used to the process.
“We’re used to cooking the food, bringing it in, serving it buffet style or lunchroom or cafeteria style,” Phillips said. “It’s something that we’re used to. It’s not a big deal.”
Mary Ellen’s is excited to continue to serve the UNL community and will continue to cater to UNL’s needs, according to Phillips.
“It was an honor to be outside and open up the school year here at the university,” Phillips said. “We have met so many beautiful people from the faculty to the students … to continue inside for the winter, it’s nothing but a blessing.”