story and photo by Will Carter, special to The City Wire
BENTONVILLE — The NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) has found an organic alternative for their students while they make renovations to their cafeteria this summer.
The Kind Kitchen of Bentonville moved its mobile kitchen to the NWACC campus Monday, and will serve breakfast and lunch four days a week, from now until August.
“We are currently renovating the cafeteria for the summer to offer our students and staff three new franchise restaurants, and have asked the Kind Kitchen to assist us in a trial period throughout the summer,” said Robert Hanlon, Director of Marketing at NWACC.
Street food has become a rising trend in cities like New York and Los Angeles, pioneering the future of convenient, quality dining, and a recent surge of food trucks parked in common spots throughout the area proves that Northwest Arkansas is not falling behind the culinary curve.
Formerly, lunch from a to-go cart might entail a greasy, mixed-meat kabob, a shriveled hot dog, or a stale pretzel. Today, the state of the cart is healthy, and increasingly high-end.
Kind Kitchen owners Tommy and Jennifer Rollins have created a menu of local flavors, purchasing the majority of their ingredients from farmer’s markets around the area. Jennifer’s vegan following has influenced the style of food offered, but she says there is something for everyone, including meat for the carnivores and rice bowls for the gluten-free.
Fresh summer fruits, such as strawberries, are used to serve up smoothies, but it’s the Indian tacos that have become a customer favorite, she said.
The Rollins’ originally bought the food truck to share their love of organic cuisine while traveling to music festivals and bike rallies, but decided to give it a try locally during “First Fridays” at the square in downtown Bentonville.
“We noticed that there was a demand for this style of food in Northwest Arkansas and decided to offer it on a regular basis,” she said.
Jennifer Rollins is not new to the food industry, previously owning a juice bar in Hot Springs called “I Relax”.
Sustainability is important to these business owners and what likely makes their Kind Kitchen aptly named. Silverware is made from potatoes, cups are made from corn and plates comprised from wheat, make all of the utensils compostable or biodegradable. The remains of vegetable oil used for cooking is turned into biofuel and used for diesel cars.
By law, the State Health Department inspects each food truck before it is approved to vend food, and sends someone out to inspect the truck on a regular basis.
“They have inspected our truck each time that we have parked in a new location, and have been cleared without any hitches,” Tommy Rollins said.
The Kind Kitchen will be on the NWACC campus all summer, opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 2 p.m., Monday - Thursday. On Fridays, Kind Kitchen is located on the Bentonville square. For more information on the Kind Kitchen follow them on Facebook.