As Dwyane Wade’s private jet took off from Raleigh-Durham International Airport Tuesday night, a Styrofoam box filled with munchies from The Dankery food truck was on board.
The Miami Heat superstar and future NBA Hall-of-Famer stopped by the Durham food truck after attending the Duke-Wake Forest game in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Burris was at the Duke game, too, seated a couple rows behind Wade and Miami Heat teammate Justise Winslow, a former Duke player who was on the Blue Devils’ 2015 National Championship team.
Wade, in the midst of a farewell tour for what he says is his last season, was acknowledged by the crowd during a timeout. Atlanta rapper, Gunna, also was in the audience, Burris said.
“I was a little star struck,” Burris said in a phone interview Wednesday with The News & Observer. But he added, “I wasn’t really in marketing mode.”
That would come later. About an hour after the game — a nail-biter victory for the Blue Devils — Burris was back at work in his truck.
He received a call from Duke assistant coach Nolan Smith, a longtime Dankery customer, who informed him that Wade and Winslow were looking for something to eat.
“I told him, ‘You already know I’m right here at the truck,’” Burris said.
Smith dispatched the NBA players in Burris’ direction.
Their order: two wing trays (hot honey and lemon pepper), and a shrimp burger.
“It was really cool to see a guy of that level tell me they respected my business,” Burris said. “It’s a boost for the city. Seeing a guy like Wade come through a little food truck is inspirational.”
Burris later posted a photo of Wade in his plane, presumably en route to Charlotte for Wednesday’s game against the Hornets. The Styrofoam boxes are visible.
Burris’ menu skews towards late night dining: fried chicken wings and tenders, shrimp burgers, fries topped with queso and bacon.
When Burris started The Dankery two years ago, he prepared the food in his parents’ house in Durham and met customers in the parking lot of the former Tripps restaurant near Northgate Mall. Orders came in largely through direct messages on Instagram and were then delivered or picked up.
Now that he has a regular location, outside Social Games and Brews at 1007 W. Main St., he acknowledges his walk-up diners are often in need of some kind of balance after a night of drinking, but also students studying late and hospital employees getting off from work.
“I wanted a business that would appeal to a large demographic, if you’ve got five dollars in your pocket or a million dollars,” Burris said.
He has dreams of taking the Dankery into the realm of brick and mortar, possibly this year, but for now he’s easy to find on Instagram at @shrimpandpastasdankery.
Burris credits an endorsement from Smith with helping build a legion of fans in the Duke community.
“He really opened a good amount of doors for me,” Burris said of Smith. “He posted a photo on his Instagram page and that really opened doors for me with Duke.”
And now, that includes two more very famous customers.