Waffle Truck of Champaign-Urbana

Crave Truck

Zach Ware takes a sip out of his Crave Truck mug.

The Crave Truck is a food truck that will offer waffles and coffee and will be making its debut in CU in late April.

Food trucks are the latest trend in the food world. Essentially a restaurant on wheels, food trucks have the ability to travel anywhere to serve their customers and have become popular all over the country. Cities like New York, Portland and Los Angeles have become hubs for this new twist on food.

Now, CU can join the list.

Zach Ware, 17 year-old entrepreneur and part owner of the Crave Truck, shares the food truck business with his mother, Marisa. Being in high school, finding a job is not as easy as it used to be. When his mother asked him to go into business with her, Ware jumped on the opportunity.

Ware described the waffles as similar to a funnel cake.

“You could walk around and eat, and you figure you’re going to school around here, get a cup of coffee and a waffle,” he said.

The concept of a food truck that sells waffles originated in Belgium, à la Belgium waffle. The name of the food truck came from the idea that the Ware team wanted to create “something that people would crave.”

The Crave Truck has been experimenting with many different recipes on their steel and cast iron waffle makers, changing flours and sugars to get the best taste. Ware said the waffles are “not something you’d eat with syrup” but with powdered sugar, fresh fruit or possibly chocolate syrup. The Crave Truck plans to offer lots of toppings to please all palettes.

“We’ve really been testing a lot of different things,” Ware said. “As of now, there’s your standard waffle with powdered sugar on top, but with our fresh fruits, I’m sure we’ll have chocolate syrup or chocolate chips as well so you can customize it however you want.”

The Crave Truck’s waffles are different than the typical American waffle. They are made with a yeast batter instead of a baking powder batter, resulting in a more “substantial texture and flavor,” according to the Crave Truck website. The result after cooking on their cast iron bakers is “a crisp outer crust, and a light, hot and chewy interior.”

The Crave Truck is also thinking of offering gluten-free and sugar-free options to the public, if there is a market for it.

The Crave Truck wants to focus on using fresh ingredients, local if possible. Its coffee is from a specialty small batch brewery in Michigan, and the Wares have been working extensively with them to create their own blend.

One difficult aspect of running a food truck are the city regulations with the public health department, location and Champaign County itself. The Wares own a 16-foot truck that is certified as a full kitchen, meaning they can cook right on the truck. In other places, like Chicago, preparing food on site is prohibited.

Ware has put hours into working on the truck, grinding rivets and other automobile work to get the truck into tip-top shape. Hours of the truck are not set yet, but Ware said they plan to be open “pretty much all day because students are going in and out of classes, and we want to be there,” Ware said.

Locations are also not available, but the Crave Truck plans on making appearances in downtown Champaign, downtown Urbana, campus town and at the Farmer’s Market in downtown Urbana.

The truck will remain in CU as long as it’s serving (according to city laws), but it can stay in Urbana as long as they are feeding the meters.

For more information on the Crave Truck, follow its progress and get updates about locations once the truck opens on its Twitter; subscribe to @thecravetruck. Its website, http://cravetruck.com/, also has more information including history, menus and press articles.

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