Ithaca's original food truck, Louie's Lunch serves up cheap food, fast

July 24, 2012

We're in the northeast this week checking out one of Ithaca's legendary food trucks, Louie's Lunch! On the north edge of Cornell University's campus, Louie's has a history that dates back almost a century to a Greek immigrant named Louis Zounakos who pushed around a food cart. These days it's more of a diner on wheels, open lunchtime to late night on Thurston Avenue near the north campus dorms, with breakfast sandwiches, burgers, wraps, hot and cold subs, and even salads. 

That's a close-up of half of my half Tullyburger sub. I don't even know what a "whole" sub looks like.That's a close-up of half of my half Tullyburger sub. I don't even know what a "whole" sub looks like.Egg and cheese sandwiches start at just $2.50, and no single menu item goes north of $7. Start with a snack, like mozzarella sticks or fries, or have a burger for just three or four bucks. A filling tullyburger sub, eggplant parm sub, or cheesesteak, modestly called a half sub, is under six bucks. Bring a friend and share a whole sub, and it's still just $7. Just a cheeseburger? Just $2.75. Seriously.

I followed a Foursquare tip's advice and tried the Maven, a hybrid hot chicken sub with both BBQ sauce and wing sauce. Tangy and spicy with plenty of crisp lettuce and tomato on top.

Jeff's Chef, a satisfying chef's salad.Jeff's Chef, a satisfying chef's salad.If cool food sounds better on a hot day, Jeff will whip up what he calls Jeff's Chef -- a generous chef's salad topped with turkey, ham, cheese, and lots of veggies, for about $5. Mine included mushrooms, pepperoncini, olives, even roasted red peppers, and it filled me right up.

You can get fries or even chili cheese fries, and we hear the peanut butter milkshake is out of this world. Check the board for daily specials, and stick around long enough and you might discover the secret underground menu.

During the summer and other school breaks, Louie's is just open for lunch, and Jeff will be especially happy to see you.

Plan on spending $3-10 bucks on a meal. Find the truck on the corner of Thurston and Wait Avenues, across from Risley Hall, check out louieslunch.com, or call 607-257-4649 to order ahead and tell them you heard about them here.

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