What was once the Dayton area’s most popular food truck has risen from the dead, at least for the time being.
>>PHOTOS: Sneak peek inside Salar as it makes a comeback after devastating fire
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.
>>PHOTOS: These are some of the best hot dogs you can get at Zombie Dogz
>>PHOTOS: Did we spot you at Culture Works’ Artini this weekend?
But it turns out the food truck is Not Dead Yet.
>> Local beer distributor announces bold move to secure its future
“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 at the beginning of the season on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
>> RELATED: Zombie Dogz fans lose their brains after bombshell announcement
“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.”
Here’s where you can find the Zombie Dogz food truck this week:
>> PHOTOS: Did we spot you at the Vintage Ohio South wine festival?
>> NEW TODAY: More than 40 food trucks will serve their finest at HUGE rally and competition this weekend
We reached out to David VanArtsdalen to learn more, and here’s what he told us :
“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.”
>> Oregon District restaurant owner: ‘We are doing these events to survive’
“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.”
>> The largest international festival in Dayton and Ohio is back for a 45th year
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.
>> Hunger Paynes gearing up to open beer & wine garden inside the Dayton Mall
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