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Local food truck rises from the dead

What was once the Dayton area’s most popular food truck has risen from the dead, at least for the time being, and it has two big events planned for this weekend. 

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Zombie Dogz — which operates a bricks-and-mortar restaurant on Brown Street adjacent to the University of Dayton — got its start as a food truck, developing a large and loyal Zombie following around town before announcing last fall they were retiring the truck due to mechanical issues. 

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But it turns out the food truck is Not Dead Yet.

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“So, we've got this thing we keep flip-floppin’ with, and it's our food truck,” Zombie Dogz owners David and Lee VanArtsdalen said late last month on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

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“We LOVE our food truck and were completely upset that we had to shut her down last season. ...This season will be specifically event to event ONLY ... we will be taking her out a few times a month. She ain't pretty!!! She's been through a lot, but she's our mess and we just can't seem to part ways with her!!!! The memories and our start all came from that trailer and it's hard letting her go.”

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We reached out to David VanArtsdalen to learn more, and here’s what he told us Monday morning:

“We will only be using the truck for bigger festivals and some food truck rallies. We will not be doing the day-to-day stuff with it this year. The truck that we tow the trailer with has been having issues and we don’t want to commit to a bunch of stuff in case we’re not able to fulfill the obligation.”

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“I think people are pretty excited that it will be coming out every once in a while — especially when we do events up north or down south. That way people who can’t make it to the restaurant can still get a chance to stop by the truck. And there’s definitely people who prefer the truck over the restaurant. So that works well for them, too.” 

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Zombie Dogz is scheduled to attend a Miami County food-truck rally Saturday and the Fleurs de Fete wine-and-food festival at Carillon Historical Park on Sunday afternoon. 

>> NEW TODAY: More than 40 food trucks will serve their finest at HUGE rally and competition this weekend

Zombie Dogz, which has nearly 40,000 “Likes” on the restaurant’s Facebook page, started the transition from food truck to bricks-and-mortar restaurant in 2016, opening its restaurant in November 2016. A year later, the VanArtsdalens announced they would retire their food truck, which they said was “on its last legs” in need of expensive repairs.

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The Zombie Dogz food truck 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 — a national poll.

>> RELATED: Zombie Dogz restaurant draws big crowd on opening day

>> RELATED: Zombie Dogz to add new — and welcome — twist to beverage options

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