Scratch curbside cupcakes sweeten campus

Erika Buiter – Staff Writer


Photos by Erika Buiter

Parked in front of the Campus Center, the Scratch Curbside truck drew in a line of shivering students, staff, and faculty on Friday, Sept. 21.  They waited for one thing:  cupcakes.  Curbside offered a variety of flavors with names like “Wedding Day” and “Razzle Dazzle” at $2 per cupcake or $22 per dozen.

The cupcakes were Instagram-worthy—each featuring a big wad of frosting, easy-to-peel parchment paper wrapping, and simple toppings.  Customers left the truck with single cupcakes, half-dozens, and more, clutching them as they walked back to classes.  For some, their taste lived up to their looks.

“This cupcake brought a ray of light topped with frosting into my life, and that’s as poetic as I’ll get,” said Anneliese Donstad, holding her half-eaten “Oh Happy Day!” cupcake.

For Juliana Martinez, the truck was a disappointment.  “Their website says they have gluten-free cupcakes, but they were not willing to put any on their truck or do orders ahead even though I called five days in advance,” Martinez said. “How hard would it be to set aside a dozen cupcakes?”

While their website states that they do have gluten free options, they are only available in their store locations every day.  Scratch Curbside is just one part of the Scratch Cupcakery family, which has brick-and-mortar locations in Cedar Falls, Waterloo, West Des Moines, and Coralville.  Scratch Cupcakery started in 2010; they added the cupcake truck in 2011.

scratchcurbsidecupcakes_takenbyerikabuiter“Natalie, the owner, wanted to reach people farther than just our two stores at the time and a truck was the easiest way to do that,” said Bre Wood, a member of senior management at Scratch Cupcakery.  “The biggest challenge we face every year is making sure we take enough cupcakes to each town and don’t bring a ton back.  [However, the] benefits are huge—we can get to a lot more cities [with the truck] than our stores can.”

Today, Scratch Curbside has visited more than 1,000 locations across Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Missouri—and now, Dordt.  Sharla Gradert, events and auxiliary services director at Dordt, was the brains behind getting Scratch Curbside to campus.  She had the idea to contact them after having one of their cupcakes when they were at Ground Effects last year.  Gradert believes the truck was a hit.

“I had one employee tell me that we should try to do a Food Truck Friday once a month or so,” Gradert said.  Dordt’s campus could use the influx of new food—with less than ten non-chain restaurants in Sioux Center, there are not many options for students besides driving an hour or more to Sioux City or Sioux Falls.

One thing is clear: if there will be more food trucks on campus in the future, students are not afraid to wait in the chilly outdoors to pay for cheap, high-quality food.  

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