Maine South grad brings donut truck home to alma mater

“They take credit cards!” shouted English teacher Jason Marsicano, as the food truck parked outside the Maine South High School cafeteria officially opened for business.

No cash? No problem, Marsicano’s statement implied as crowds of students lined up in front of the Beavers Coffee and Donuts truck April 11.

One by one, students carried away small brown boxes filled with mini doughnuts, everything from the basic powdered sugar, to chocolate sauce and candy sprinkles, to peanut butter and strawberry sauce.

“They are amazing,” said senior Teresa Colletti as she and two friends staked out a spot on the sidewalk near the truck.

On what was the first warm, sunny, eat-outside-the-cafeteria day of 2014, the appearance of the doughnut truck was well-timed. At its helm was co-owner Gabriel Weisen, a 2004 Maine South graduate, who started the business with Notre Dame College Prep alum Jim Nuccio three years ago.

It was Marsicano — Weisen’s English teacher back in 2000 — who invited Weisen back to South to provide an example of entrepreneurship and to use his successful food truck to help with a school-wide fundraiser. Weisen agreed to give 15 percent of the day’s proceeds to the charity of students’ choice, which ended up being Wright Way Rescue, a local animal adoption agency.

Marsicano said he learned about Beavers Coffee and Donuts from friends who work in downtown Chicago and had purchased items from the business.

“Out of sheer curiosity I Googled it to see what’s going on, and lo and behold, [Weisen’s] picture comes up,” Marsicano recalled. “I said, ‘I know that guy.’”

Weisen said his company, which also operates a storefront in downtown Chicago and a commercial bakery, frequently takes part in school fundraisers, particularly within the Chicago Public Schools system.

“This is the first time we’re doing a high school and a high school out in the suburbs,” he said.

The truck operates five days a week year-round, if the weather permits.

“It’s worked out beautifully,” Weisen said of the food truck business, which he described as a “hospitality, culinary trend” that he and Nuccio hoped to capitalize on.

As part of his visit to Maine South, Weisen also spoke to an entrepreneurship class. He credited the Maine South faculty with helping to “influence and mold my opinions going into college” and said their teaching “definitely factored into what I’m doing today.”

In addition to enjoying a treat at the end of the school week, some students said they were happy the doughnut sales were helping a good cause.

“It’s very nice because we get to donate money to the animal shelter,” said student Danny Touhy, as he waited with friends in the very long line during one of the school lunch periods.

“It was literally the greatest idea,” said Lauren Rubino, a senior, who purchased the Loco Coco mini doughnuts and the Nutella Dream. “I actually didn’t think they were going to come, but they came.”

“It’s nice to have something different here,” added friend Amanda Sremac.

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