Food truck frenzy drives its way to Sewanee

The Shenanigans food truckBy Alysse Schultheis


Photo courtesy of

Many students got to experience the glorious food from Shenanigans this past weekend without having to walk to Downtown Sewanee. That’s right, food was carted all over the campus to feed hungry and tired students during Spring Party. As you enjoyed all this delicious cuisine, you might have wondered, “How did this heaven on wheels get to Sewanee?” Well, that was a long journey that involved Craigslist, shifty people, and many prayers along the way.

Shenanigans owners Nelson Byrd and Bill Elder always thought a food truck or fixing the upstairs of the building would be the next steps for their re-launch of the classic eatery. After doing their research, they realized that acquiring a food truck would be a very big project, one that would require them to either build it themselves or pay someone to do it. Looking at trucks on Craigslist and Ebay, they decided that the best option would be to find one that would meet their requirements. However, this is where our heroes’ journey begins Photo courtesy of Bill Elder to get murky.

Seeing a post on Ebay advertising a “catering truck,” they looked into it more, even finding a 20-minute video that looked very professional and took them through the entire truck. The price was just right and the video was very detailed, making Byrd and Elder hopeful that this was the truck for them. What do our fearless adventurers do next? They go to the sixth most dangerous neighborhood for crime in Texas, but of course, they did not know this tidbit of information at the time. On December 15, they head down to Texas, pick up their rental car, and go to the lovely neighborhood of Sunny Side. As it turns out, the happy, bright images that the name Sunny Side brings to mind are not very accurate. Broken streetlights, run down houses, and empty yards made Byrd and Elder pause, look at each other, and think, “Where are we going?” Pulling up to the house where they would meet their fate, the only house on the street that possessed a light on the garage, our two heroes ventured on to get the food truck Sewanee wanted and deserved. Two brothers meet them outside the house, and after looking the truck over, Byrd and Elder decide to venture into the abyss again the next day in order to bring back a mechanic to check out the truck.

The bargaining begins bright and early the next day, inside a house that had Air Jordans stacked sky high on one wall. Coming to an agreeable price, Byrd and Elder offered to pay with a cashiers check since it was a hefty transaction. Paying with a check would make this deal way too normal, of course, so when the brothers asked if they could be paid in cash instead, Elder commented how he felt like he was in a Quentin Tarantino movie. With each additional hour, Elder wanted to leave the shady neighborhood behind him, but he and Byrd remained, as any true heroes would. Like all adventure stories, this one has many ups and downs. Byrd and Elder hit another snag when the bank did not have enough money in their vaults to cover the price of the food truck. On a time limit, Byrd and Elder return to Sunny Side and reveal the bad news to the brothers, asking if they can do give as much cash as the bank has and just make up the deficit with a check. Reluctantly agreeing, they move forward with the deal, and carrying so much cash, Elder commented how they expected to be pulled over at any moment.

However, the sun absent in Sunny Side shined on Byrd and Elder, allowing them to get through the transaction and finally receive the title for the car. Making sure the title was clean, because you can never be too safe in Texas, everything was done legally and in writing. Now that the truck is up to code and equipped with the coolest paint job around, students can expect to see it more often roaming the streets. The food truck will provide late night food thanks to a partnership with the University to allow them to drive on the domain. Providing a safe, convenient way for students to get food, the truck will be a welcome addition to the community. Shenanigans also wants to take the truck to those who live down the mountain and do not have time to get up to Sewanee on a regular basis. In honor of the long, dangerous mission of retrieving the food truck, Byrd and Elder decided to name some new dishes after their trip, so expect to see the Sunny Side Sandwich soon!