WESTMINSTER — It's 4:25 p.m. and Diane Ogorzalek is hurrying -- no, hustling -- toopen her food stand, unpacking hamburger buns and placing condiments, spoons and assorted muffins and desserts on the counter.
"Fruit,I found the fruit," she says, pulling a plastic basket of apples from a shelf below a steamer and placing it on the counter.
Waiting in line is Ann Glowacki, a part-time student and senior registration clerk who has become a regular at the Corridor Cafe, the makeshift cafeteria at Carroll Community College.
"They have pleasant service and pleasant food," said Glowacki, a Westminster resident. "The ladies are always pretty friendly."
Ogorzalek and her husband, Mike, own and operate Mobile Menus, a lunch truck catering service. She began serving food in a corner behind the stairs in the lower-level dining area in mid-September. Because CCC doesn't have a cafeteria or immediate plans for one, college officials decided to seek bids for a food-service program from vendors last summer.
Mobile Menus was one of four vendors that submitted proposals, said Joel Hoskowitz, CCC's coordinator of counseling who served as chairman of a committee charged with finding a restaurateur.
Hoskowitz said the nine-member committee gave Mobile Menus the highest rating after evaluating the cost of food items, menu variety, space requirements and other needs of the four bidders.
"We tried to approach (the selection) as objectively and fairly as we could," he said.
Only one other vendor offered to provide breakfast and dinner in its proposal, something CCC officials were looking for because students attend classes throughout the day and evening.
The college's hopes of finding a vendor were buoyed by the relative success of Maggie's restaurant, a Westminster eatery that offered a limited menu at CCC during the summer.
"From my observations, quite a few students and staff are making use of the service," Hoskowitz said of Corridor Cafe. "I think the setup has worked out well. She offers a palatable alternative to the vending machines."
Pattie Woods, a CCC cashier who frequently eats at the Corridor Cafe, said she "refuses to eat out of one of those vending machines."
Business has been good so far, Ogorzalek said.
"Of course, I always want it to be better," she said.
The Eldersburgresident said the food stand allows her to offer a greater menu variety than does the family's lunch truck business. She leased the use of a kitchen at Summer Enterprises in Westminster to cook and prepare menu items.
"We can have homemade sandwiches and stuff," she said."We used to sell sandwiches like those in vending machines."
The menu offers hot dogs, hamburgers and cold sandwiches ranging in pricefrom $1.80 for an egg salad to $2.25 for Italian cold cuts. Daily specials include meat loaf for $1.75, mashed potatoes for $1 and green beans for 50 cents.
Ogorzalek scaled down her breakfast menu of pancakes, eggs and sausage after sales were flat.
"I don't know if it was too much to eat too early, or I was missing students who were here earlier," the 37-year-old said.
She now serves an egg, ham andcheese sandwich on a roll for $1.75, bagel and cream cheese for 80 cents and doughnuts for 50 cents.
"The menu's gone over much better," she said.
Ogorzalek said she didn't know the college had no cafeteria until she read in a newspaper article that officials were seeking bids. She once sold lunch from the family's truck catering service to crews during the construction of the Washington Road campus.