It’s a typical weekday morning in the beginning of the semester, and as students walk by to get their morning coffee, they can’t help being a little confused trying to find Ramon’s Food and Coffee Cart where it’d normally be; in front of Horton Hall. However, on Sept. 11, they moved across the sidewalk and onto the pavement, right next to the same building. For the husband and wife who operate the cart, this new location provides more comfort.
“I think we are more exposed here, and students can see the cart better, so they stop more often to grab something,” co-owner Kristin Valdez said.
Kristin’s husband, Ramon Valdez is a New York native and came to the Durham community in 2002 and started working at another cart on campus called It’s a Wrap. When the cart was moved off campus, Valdez made the decision to start his own coffee-cart business and, with Kristin’s help, has now been serving UNH for the past decade.
The question of why Ramon’s cart is so popular on the UNH campus has many different answers, depending on who you ask. For sophomore Katherine Drake, Ramon’s is a great place to get her caffeine fix in the mornings before going to class in the nearby buildings. Valdez and his wife think that location and good customer service are the keys to success, and aren’t worried about the local competition around campus.
This little restaurant on wheels offers far more than just delicious coffee and other beverages. Valdez said he believes his specialty is making actual dishes, such as rice combos, sandwiches, wraps and other warm foods, and that is what keeps the clientele coming and differentiates Ramon’s from other coffee and dining locations on campus. Many students do just go for their signature drinks, however. One of those students is senior Courtney O’Brien. She said it was the Christmassy Peppermint Hot Chocolate that did her in.
“I tried it once, and it was so good,” O’Brien said while smiling.
Valdez and his wife are not planning on giving up their jobs at Ramon’s anytime soon, as it’s the only source of income for the couple. The pair has decided to keep going with the coffee-cart business, open weekdays from 7 a.m.–2 p.m., until they are eligible to retire.
One change that Valdez has in mind for the near future is to start accepting Cat’s Cache in hopes that even more students will come by to try the delicacies he has to offer.