Franny’s food truck is a campus eatery located behind Sibley Hall. Being a non-traditional campus eatery, many may argue against Franny’s quality of food and service as compared to other dining options on campus. In any case, Franny’s is certainly the least well-known dining option on campus. First and foremost, a trip to Franny’s requires a long walk from main campus. Furthermore, Franny’s lacks covered seating, an off-putting concern during the cold winter season. With such stiff competition among dining eateries across campus, it is difficult to understand why one would choose to eat at Franny’s.
However, you simply have to talk to any student in the AAP college to understand the degree of importance that Franny’s has in their lives. Many students and faculty manage to visit Franny’s on a daily basis, whether it is to eat lunch or grab a quick snack. True Franny’s enthusiasts treat a simple lunch at the food truck as part of their routine, ordering and picking up their meal of choice before walking down the steps from the back of Franny’s that lead to the Green Dragon Café to enjoy their meal during the colder months. In the summer, it is common to see students lounging across the large white granite blocks parallel to Sibley whilst enjoying their meals prepared by the food truck.
As an advocate of Franny’s, I believe there are many reasons why you should go out of your way to visit. First, the short waiting time for food at Franny’s is great. Contrary to common belief, Franny’s lack of indoor seating actually benefits the establishment, as students do not crowd around the area with their meals. This allows for efficient preparation of the food and extremely quick service. Second, Franny’s creatively planned menu is unique and cannot be found at other eateries. The food truck fuses a wide range of flavors and spices from Eastern and Western traditions to create unorthodox dishes. Examples of Franny’s innovative menu include a series of Asian-inspired dishes such as the Phoritto. The Phoritto, a play on the words “pho” and “burrito,” is made of thin strips of flattened out rice noodles, coriander, spices and thinly sliced meats layered within a warmed flour tortilla shell. There are also more traditional dishes such as the Korean vegetarian bowl, which consists of warm rice layered with pickled radishes and carrots, strips of seaweed, edamame, cucumbers and tofu doused in a spicy Gochujang dressing made from chilis and fermented beans.
Franny’s is also known to be one of the most flexible eateries on campus. Students personalize their rice bowls by mixing sides and condiments from other dishes. Ask any regular Franny’s patron and you will discover that students leave with varied portions of the dishes from the menu, each catered to their personal tastes. Students who are veterans of the food truck will tell you about their personal requests at Franny’s, such as having an additional poached egg in their rice bowls or cross-ordering other sides to their bowls. Franny’s customizable menu allows for students of different dietary needs to enjoy their meals with ease.
My go-to meal at Franny’s has to be their chicken tikka rice bowl. Thick chunks of protein marinated in curry powder, crushed cumin and other spices layer the rice bowl, topped off with a savory curry sauce — flavors that compliment each other perfectly. There are definitely flaws in the dish such as the overcooked rice, a common mistake that is almost unavoidable when you try to cook large batches of rice simultaneously. However, the rice’s wet consistency complements the smoky chicken slices which are generously placed on top. I have also tried their vegetarian option, where the dish is made with tofu cubes cooked in an aromatic yellow curry paste. You really cannot go wrong with either choice of protein.
Four pieces of garlic cheese naan bread accompany the rice bowl which I gladly use to mop up the remaining sauces on the bottom of the bowl. If that was not enough flavor, two small containers of sauces are served with the rice bowl. One is made from a mixture of herbs and mint and has a refreshing and light finish, with a light green color that looks like a liquid form of minty pesto with a slight tang. The second sauce resembles a traditional Indian chutney, with a slightly thicker sauce that has a floral component and a sweet fruity finish. Both sauces complement the protein and naan very well. Instead of the normal potatoes and chickpea mix that comes with the chicken tikka bowl, I opt for a side of radish and carrot slaw which is usually only served with the Korean rice bowl. The slaw is made with thin strips of earthy vegetables brined in a vinegary mix. The slaw acts as a perfect textural change to the soft and tender bites of naan and protein of choice, with the acidity of the slaw balancing out the sweet and tangy flavor of the dish.
I dine at Franny’s at least twice a week with my classmates after our lecture in Sibley Hall. Although we follow drastically different schedules, we always get lunch together at Franny’s on Tuesday and Thursday after class. Shamelessly, I have been ordering the same tikka rice bowl at Franny’s for the past few months, sporadically changing my protein of choice. Franny’s is a representation of what college dining halls should be — creative yet not overdone food choices at a reasonable price point with customizable options. Although it is hard to break rhythm with Franny’s, I am glad this is the case.
Serves: Vegetarian/Asian/New American
Vibe: Casual, outdoors, grab and go