Lloyd—the Lloyd Taco Truck, that is—begins his Buffalo State career on Monday, January 27, in Lot M.
It’s the first contract between Lloyd and a college campus, and everybody involved is excited about it.
Peter Cimino, who owns Lloyd Taco Truck with Chris Dorsaneo, said, "A lot of hard work and innovative thinking went into this partnership. We're super excited to be coming to Buff State!"
Manny Lezama, resident district manager of Chartwells, the firm that handles Buffalo State's food services, helped to set up the new partnership. Cimino said, "Manny deserves a lot of credit for not letting the idea die. I really want to say ‘thank you’ for all his hard work and stick-to-it-iveness, and for his faith in us."
By all accounts, “stick-to-it-iveness” was crucial in making this partnership happen. Bringing Lloyd’s to campus under Chartwells' umbrella and making sure the popular food truck met the requirements of Chartwells, Buffalo State, and the SUNY system required a great deal of patience and determination. "It would have been easy for Manny to decide he just didn’t need the headache," said Cimino.
Lezama, however, was as interested as Cimino because students had been asking for a food truck on campus—and, specifically, the Lloyd Taco Truck. "We meet with students once a month," said Lezama, "and we create an action plan within 14 days to address their requests."
Lezama, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, is passionate about providing high-quality food, and he recognized the same passion in Cimino and Dorsaneo. "They were willing to make the efforts to meet our requirements," he said. He also praised Lisa Krieger, assistant vice president for finance and management. "She followed through on all the legal work," he said. "She is absolutely a professional."
Meantime, Buffalo State's Parking and Transportation Committee, headed by Wende Mix, associate professor of geography and planning, was exploring ways to make the parking lots across Grant Street—including Lot M—more student-friendly. Timothy Ecklund, associate vice president for housing and auxiliary enterprises, serves on the committee and is the contract manager for Chartwells. The idea of placing the sought-after food truck in that parking lot made sense to him. "We looked into buying a food truck with Chartwells, but it quickly became apparent that seeking a partnership with an existing food truck made more sense," said Ecklund. "It was a long, hard road to set it up but it was also fun. Nothing like this has been done, certainly not here and perhaps not at any other SUNY campus."
Responding to student requests and increasing the appeal of the southwest corner of campus were key drivers of the arduous process. But there was another ingredient, and Krieger put her finger on it. "Lloyd's is trendy, urban, and edgy," she said, "and so is Buffalo State. It's a perfect match."