Tasting the Queen City at Buffalo Untapped

Buffalo Untapped brings local food trucks and breweries to campus

Enzo Benfanti, a junior chemical engineering major, braved Saturday’s 40-degree windy weather in a tank top as he waited an hour and 45 minutes to take the first bite of a burrito from Lloyd Taco truck.

Buffalo Untapped was held in North Campus’ Lake Lasalle Lot and Alumni Arena’s Triple Gym from 5-9 p.m. on Saturday evening. SA has been planning Buffalo Untapped since October as a way for undergraduate students to become more aware of what eateries, breweries and vendors Buffalo has to offer.

Erin Lachaal, the SA entertainment director, came up with the idea for the event. As a Buffalo native, she wanted students unfamiliar with the area to feel the same excitement for the city as she does.

While she said she felt the event was a success, she acknowledged there were a few problems including one to two hours wait times for some food trucks and running out of food.

“This is the first time we’ve done this so there’s definitely some kinks that need to be worked out, and there’s ways to improve to make this bigger and better for the upcoming years,” Lachaal said.

She estimated the cost of the event came to about $12,000, which was taken from the undergraduate mandatory student activity fee. More than 2,000 undergraduates attended.

Benfanti said he was content with the funds used for Buffalo Untapped. He hoped the SA would continue to hold the event in future years, with the kinks worked out.

Benfanti thought more trucks should’ve been brought to the event to avoid long lines, while Evan Meenan, a junior communication major, felt the event could’ve been planned better.

Meenan said if the event started earlier, or if there were more trucks, “more people would have come to space out the lines.”

Along with Lloyd Taco truck, the Black Market Food truck, Franks Gourmet Hot Dogs, Betty Crockski, Sweet Hearth and UB’s own campus food truck, Big Blue, served the students at the event.

The Black Market ran out of food around 7 p.m., causing a herd of hungry students to migrate on to other food truck lines – making them even longer.

The lines in the “Beer Garden” for Community Beer Works, Flying Bison, Resurgence and Big Ditch Brewing Co. were almost as long as the food trucks outside at times. The beer vendors experienced similar problems to the food trucks as some ran out of drink samples.

Despite some students being left without food or beer, others discovered the new tastes from Buffalo microbreweries.

Kevin Carpenter, a junior psychology major, tasted Flying Bison’s India Pale Ale (IPA) and loved it. He plans on getting it when he goes into the city.

“[Buffalo Untapped] is more accessible for people who are not able to go around and try [different beer] for themselves,” Carpenter said. “I feel like we’re excluded from the rest of Buffalo, so it’s very important that we have a way to get outside of UB.”

The line for the tasting began to decrease around 6 p.m. as more students went to wait in the food lines.

“I would hope that next year we can bring even more trucks because this has proven to be exactly what the students want,” Lachaal said.

In addition to food trucks and local breweries, bands were brought in to entertain the crowds.

“A lot of [the bands] are local students, so why not have students play since student culture builds within itself,” said SA Vice President Evan Chen.

In order for the program to begin, the SA had to apply for multiple licenses to provide the food trucks and serve alcohol to the students.

For Lachaal and Chen, seeing students fully engaged in an activity on campus that helped them become more aware of Buffalo as a city was more successful than they could’ve imagined. They said they’re certain Buffalo Untapped will become a tradition at UB.

James Battle contributed reporting to this story.

Marissa Fielding is a features staff writer and can be contacted at features@ubspectrum.com