As Benjamin Franklin and Pauli Murray colleges near completion, owners of Ingalls Rink food carts are bracing for impact.
Food vendor owners, such as those at Joe Grate’s Barbecue, Lali Grill and Mecha-Uma, expressed concern that the new colleges, which will open in fall 2017 and eventually house approximately 800 undergraduates, will hurt business, as students will be able to swipe for dining hall access just across the street.
Peggy Grate, owner of Joe Grate’s Barbecue food truck, said she and her husband are concerned that food from Franklin and Murray colleges will hurt business, perhaps forcing the Grates to move the truck and focus on the business’s catering services.
“It’s a sign of the times, so we just have to be ready for that,” Grate said.
However, Portabello Latín Food owner Francisco Mendez said he believed the new dining halls will not affect his customer base as the food he serves differs from Yale’s. Elisa Martinez ’18 echoed this sentiment, adding that the students who visit the food carts now do so because they want to, not because they cannot use Yale Dining options. Martinez said that food cart lunches taste better than the dining hall and she uses them to treat herself. They also provide a convenient and relatively cheap meal if students miss lunch, she said.
For Lali Grill owner Shilmat Tessema, the future is more uncertain.
“Of course we’re going to be affected,” Tessema said, though she speculated that the new colleges could either hurt or help her business.
The food carts, which will likely all still be in the area next year, operate until midafternoon. The new dining halls’ hours remain undetermined, with extended hours perhaps being considered, said Adam Millman, the senior director of residential dining.
But according to new city regulations, Grate’s Barbecue may not even be able to vend in the block next year. New city ordinances, which will move all food carts from the Ingalls Rink parking lot to nearby Sachem Street, have yet to be passed by the Board of Alders, though city officials aim to implement them by the beginning of next year.
For the carts still serving at the base of Science Hill next year, one group of customers remain unchanged: Many professors, graduate students and postdoctoral students do not have dining hall meal plans, Dennis Vu ’19 pointed out.
With the new regulations, the number of potential food carts serving the block will increase from 15 to 18.