West Chester, PA: Food On The Move

Student Rose Haywood, right, gets a sandwich from Matt Gourley at the Lunch Truck parked on South Church Street on the Campus of West Chester University.

By Justin McAneny | DailyLocal.com


Student Rose Haywood, right, gets a sandwich from Matt Gourley at the Lunch Truck parked on South Church Street on the Campus of West Chester University.

A cheesesteak is cooked on a grill that’s been seasoned with hundreds of other cheesesteaks, onions and pieces of bacon, and a meatball soaks in marinara sauce, absorbing each little hint of oregano before being put on a long roll. Yes, you can get both of these lunch items at a restaurant, but they probably won’t taste the same.

To get these delicacies you need to hit the streets and find your local lunch trucks. Easy to find in major East Coast cities, they can also be found here in Chester County. If you’re in West Chester, head over to West Chester University. There, on Church Street, you’ll find a variety of options for a quick meal, snack or coffee while you’re on the go.

Grab a cheeseburger from The Lunchbox on a nice day, find a bench and enjoy your lunch while people-watching or eat it while walking.

Matt Gourley, who has worked in the restaurant business for 20 years, has operated The Lunchbox on West Chester University’s campus since last fall. With a bad economy and high rent in the area, “it’s an easy way to stay in the restaurant business and control your costs,” Gourley said. “And if it doesn’t work out here, I can always go somewhere else.”

Working in a lunch truck, the key to getting things done is preparation, Gourley explained. Menu items need to be purchased, then packed, then prepared. Then there is the unpacking and cleaning after a work day. Although you only see the trucks while they’re open, Gourley said the people running them are often working 12 to 15 hours a day. This work also dictates the menu, he said. “You have to have your menu so you aren’t killed by the prep.”

He chose cupcakes because it’s not your standard lunch-truck food. “It’s the perfect dessert or lunch,” Dilks said. He added that after numerous requests, he will soon be adding milk to the menu.

The variety of cupcakes he serves changes weekly. And he’s at different locations in the region different days of the week. Because of this, Dilks takes advantage of the Internet and social media sites. You can look up what the cupcakes of the week are and where they will be at www.theyummycupcake.com and also follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Don’t hesitate going, either. Dilks sells 350 cupcakes a day on average and when they’re gone for the day, well, you’ll have to track him down the following week.

If you’re not hungry for lunch, something sweet isn’t interesting you and, well, you just need something to help you get through the rest of the day, everyone’s favorite pick-me-up on the go might just be coffee. And if that’s what you need, be thankful for Grateful Beans. Grateful Beans is the coffee truck operated by Fennario’s Coffee, on North Church Street in West Chester.

Kate Gerrish works at both locations. “I like working (at Grateful Beans). There’s more variety of people.” She said they sell mostly regular coffee (the fair trade organic coffee they sell is a bit strong so it will keep you going) and espresso. Working in such a tiny space isn’t that difficult, she said, adding “organization is the key.”

The rest of her lunch truck colleagues would probably agree.