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Food cart to start delivery services

BY DANIEL VALENTIN | SEPTEMBER 18, 2014 5:00 AM

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It’s late at night, and students from the University of Iowa are looking for a meal around 10:30 p.m.

Now, they’ve discovered a food cart on the Pedestrian Mall: Cornroc.

Makotsi Rukundo, the owner of Cornroc, has noticed a sizable increase in the number of student customers since the beginning of the school year.

“It is a different kind of setting than a restaurant,” he said. “It’s outside, so I get to talk to customers.”

Rukundo said a decent number of his customers are travelers that like to grab their food and go, which is very beneficial to his business.

“We draw in such a large population of freshmen who grow tired of comfort food such as pizzas, meatball subs, and Mexican food,” he said. “When I was in college, I’d seen all sorts of changing businesses, but no one realizes there are food carts.”

Rukundo wants to create a car delivery service for students because so many of them are taking a liking to his food cart, but he is not able to use food trucks.

“The city’s regulations are already specific to the size of the cart,” he said. “We want to set up so that on Saturday nights, college students can call with a specific order, we get their location, and deliver. This will definitely help with popularity. They must use their credit card.”

City Clerk Marian Karr said the city does not govern delivery services, but rather the zones in which they conduct business.

“We do not usually allow commercial use of streets and sidewalks,” she said.

Karr said they are beginning to try to make use of mobile vending trucks, but they are not seeing much success.

Doug Beardsley, the director of Johnston County Public Health Services, said that anyone providing food to the public must have a permit and they must follow regulations.

“Hot foods must be kept hot, and cold foods kept cold,” he said.

Beardsley said that public-health services could indeed license Rukundo’s food cart if it meets the food standards for food trucks.

“There is no restriction by the health department as to where food trucks operate,” Beardsley said.

UI freshman Danny Poole said although he likes to eat at Hillcrest, he said one reason he thinks students are beginning to go to Cornroc is to seek out variety in what they eat.

“It’s a nice way to get away from burritos and pizza, and it lets us try something new,” Poole said.

Poole said he thinks students in general would prefer not to walk across the Pentacrest to get a bite to eat, so he endorses the delivery service idea.

UI sophomore Erin Jones said every once in a while, it is good to try something new.

“It’s good that it’s open so late,” she said. “I have classes at very inconvenient times, and I often miss meals.”

Jones also said she likes the food-cart style when compared to the atmosphere that restaurants create.

“I work at a restaurant, and I’m not really able to talk that much to customers,” she said. “I think it’s good to have that connection. That’s why this place sounds so cool.”


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