Zombie Dogz nation is mourning the loss of the food truck that last year captured a “Best Food Truck in Ohio” crown.
And they’re mourning hard.
Reaction to Friday’s announcement on the Zombie Dogz Facebook page and on the Dayton.com news story was swift and grief-stricken. For some, it was measured by the number of “o’s” placed after the “n” — ranging from “NOOOO” to “Noooooooo.” Another fan wrote, “Save the truck! Save the truck! Save the truck!”
FRIDAY’S STORY: Local food truck pioneer Zombie Dogz to park the truck for good
“Aw man, this is the saddest thing ever,” another commenter said.
The retiring of the food truck essentially completes the transition of Zombie Dogz from food truck to bricks-and-mortar restaurant. Its restaurant opened on Brown Street near the University of Dayton in November 2016. A lengthy line snaked down Brown Street on opening day.
“You gotta get a new truck,” another member of Zombie Dogz Nation wrote. “Keep that food truck vibe alive here in Dayton!” Another fan wrote that the truck “was a better experience … the store just isn’t the same.”
Zombie Dogz owners David and Lee VanArtsdalen said their food truck is on its last legs and would be very expensive to fix. Repairs would take months, they said. “So we’re just gonna shut it down for now.”
Facebook commenter Suzanne Byers wrote, “What if the community pitched in to help you get a new truck so you could go back out?”
Zombie Dogz replied, “We wouldn’t feel right by any means doing that. We just want to focus on the restaurant.”
The food truck evolved into the Dayton area’s most popular, at least according to the size of its Facebook following. It also was winner of the “Best Food Truck in Ohio” designation in Ohio Magazine’s 2016 Best of Ohio Readers’ Ballot.
Zombie Dogz also finished second in Mobile Cuisine’s 2016 Hot Dog Vendor of the Year poll. It was a national poll.
In their announcement Friday, the VanArtsdalens wrote, “Our truck has brought us so many great memories and a LOT of customers who we now consider good friends, if not family. It has got us to where we are today and we’ll never forget how we got this far.”
And, they left the door open just a crack for a food-truck resurrection. When one Facebook follower asked Saturday morning whether the food truck might “come back to life like a true zombie,” the owners replied, “You never know what the future holds … .”
RELATED: Zombie Dogz announces new hours, menu update (January 2017)