Owner of Wandering Donkey plans to open more trucks throughout campus

The executive chef of Grilled Addiction, a restaurant truck on the downtown Phoenix campus that serves American-style food, plans on expanding his business to cover all four of ASU's campuses.

Lance Smith, the truck's executive chef, said he plans to expand his business by deploying a new truck, which he calls the Wandering Donkey, that will visit all four campuses.

“We put in the paperwork with the University about two weeks ago and we are still waiting for the approval to put our truck on campus," Smith said.

The new food truck will be available to the University with the same options as the original which first launched Oct. 3, 2015. 

“We are like a Chipotle on wheels, with the food on steroids,” Smith said.

Wandering Donkey offers customers choices featuring a wide variety of fresh ingredients.

“From a culinary perspective, this particular concept is a real winner because you build it your way,” Smith said. “The beauty of what we do is that it is all up to you.”

Although Wandering Donkey takes the form as a do-it-yourself food truck, Smith said that does not mean that the preparation from the staff goes completely unnoticed.

“My culinary background comes from a lot of personal friends that happen to be renowned chefs,” Smith said. “Our staff is highly qualified to serve exceptional food in the finest of dining experiences.”

Smith said he has hired almost all of his staff directly out of the Arizona Culinary Institute.

One of those Arizona Culinary Institute graduates is Juan Castanuela, the head sous chef of Wandering Donkey.

“I like the freeness of cooking here,” Castanuela said. 

He said this has helped the restaurant create a unique and delicious lamb barbacoa.

Castanuela along with other graduates in Wandering Donkey implemented their cooking style from Arizona Culinary Institute directly into the dishes that are served.

Smith said this implementation is showcased by the variety of meats the truck serves.

“Carne asada is the highest protein seller,” Castanuela said.

The restaurant's carne asada is prepared on the food truck with a tender skirt steak. Castanuela said the fresh ingredients along with the high quality meats are the key to success for Wandering Donkey.

“This is the only food truck that I will come to,” regular customer Rafal Lis said. “If I could get every type of protein in my burrito bowl, I would."

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Reach the reporter at dcaltabi@asu.edu or follow @davidcaltabiano on Twitter.

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