Saint Leo University is taking Dining Services Dining Services on the road. The university officially opened its new food truck, The Hungry Lion, on Tuesday, February 23, with a "soft opening" at its residential campus in Pasco County.
Why would a university operate a food truck? University President Jeffrey Senese sought a way to not only help students, but also to be a community service—and spread the word about Saint Leo University. As the university continues to grow, the university is looking to creative ways to serve its students.
"President [Jeffrey] Senese had the vision that our amazing Dining Services cuisine could be shared with the community at special events, at the Tampa Education Center, and at University Campus to meet the needs of students—late night and close to their residence halls," said Dr. Jen Shaw, vice president of Student Affairs, about the new food truck. "The Hungry Lion will provide fresh, delicious food 'on the go' in a variety of locations both on- and off-campus. Simultaneously, it will give community members a peek at the beautiful Pasco County campus through the pictures on the truck."
The 34-foot-truck features photos of University Campus, 33701 State Road 52, and a distinctive logo featuring a lion, Saint Leo's mascot.
A sampling of items on The Hungry Lion's menu includes steak, turkey, or black bean burgers; pizzas; melts; grinders; tomato bisque soup; creamy macaroni and cheese; hand-cut chips dusted with blue cheese and Parmesan; and rosemary garlic butter Tuscan fries.
Some sandwiches on The Hungry Lion menu are named after Saint Leo community members: Abbot Isaac's Special, the Mac Daddy (Frank) Hernandez, the (Joseph) Cillo Burger, and Frank's (Orlando) Tomato Basil. The menu names and items will rotate depending on where the truck is stationed and the event.
At first, The Hungry Lion will be open to students, faculty, and staff, 11:30-1:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, and it will be located off of the Student Community Center's Lakeview Patio.
The hope is to soon offer night time dining for students, Shaw said. Plans also call for the food truck to frequently be stationed at the Saint Leo's Tampa Education Center, 1403 N. Howard Ave., and to be there for events that are open to the public. Patrons may use cash or credit cards.
When fully staffed and operational, The Hungry Lion will begin serving at community events. To inquire about availability, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Tuesday's soft opening, students, faculty, and staff had the opportunity to sample some of the food truck's menu. The truck also received a blessing from University Chaplain Father Randall Meissen.