Georgetown University students like this year’s addition of late-night food trucks and carts on campus, but the vendors’ presence has not kept students from walking through residential neighborhoods late at night to partake in the community's nightlife.
“The campus confines you,” said Marcus Puskar, sophomore at Georgetown University. “You want to get out, and you want to do your own thing.”
There was a steady line of students waiting to be served crepes and barbecue sandwiches by Snack Shack food cart owner and manager Shane Fernando on Friday night.
Around 150 students come through Snack Shack’s line in one night. Some students know Fernando by name.
“It’s been a really good experience for me,” said Fernando.
Students patronize the food trucks that are stationed in front of the Joseph Mark Lauinger Memorial Library Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. But many students refer to the on-campus treats as “grab and goes” they get on their way to off-campus restaurants, bars and house parties.
“When the weekend comes you want to get out – get away from the grind,” said Jack Zdancewicz, Georgetown University transfer-sophomore, who said he usually goes to Quick Pita or Five Guys.
On-campus food trucks were one “short-term solution” that Georgetown University and neighborhood leaders of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission came up with this June to address neighborhood complaints of late-night noise in the Georgetown University area.
“It’s one part of the efforts we are taking to make socializing on campus as attractive as off-campus socializing,” said Rachel Pugh, a spokesperson for Georgetown University.
The university plans to construct a New Student South Center by fall of 2014. Pugh said the center would serve as an on-campus “living room” with a pub and dance floor to create a more “residential living and learning campus."
Groups of students were scattered about on N Street between 36th and 37th Streets, NW just outside of campus, planning their night out as S.N.A.P. officers patrolled on Friday night.
“I think Georgetown is a hub for a lot of people to go out in,” said Jason Kluger, 2011 Georgetown University graduate who was sitting in a booth with four friends at The Tombs on Saturday night.
Stephan Vasilis, The Tombs restaurant and bar manager, said he had not seen a difference in business since the food trucks began setting up on The Tombs’ busiest nights.
“I would rather go off campus to hangout with my friends,” said Taylor Shodahl, Georgetown University freshman, who was eating at Five Guys on Wisconsin Street. “The walk there is nice.”