UW News

October 21, 2010

Hot dogs, tacos, barbecue and more: Good street eats now on Red Square

UW News

There’s Motosurf, and then there’s Siganos, which is part of the formidable thing they call Megatron.

New Transformers, maybe? No, new street food wagons from Housing & Food Services, most stationed on Red Square, here to deliver lunch to the hungry masses in a (temporarily) post-HUB world.

Storm Hodge, assistant director for dining services, said the cluster of restaurants in the HUB Den used to serve about 6,000 meals a day. That’s a lot of lunches to be replaced while the building gets its two-year remodel. He said HFS formed a task force to consider the matter about a year back, when the remodel was confirmed. “Our first obstacle was, there’s not a lot of real estate. It’s not like we have a big kitchen elsewhere.”

The answer? Food on four wheels, which can be parked on Red Square or elsewhere on the UW campus. “Food trucks were something I always wanted to do — it’s a hot trend, and everyone can relate,” Hodge said.

The trucks currently in residence are:

  • Motosurf, offering full-plate lunches and bite-sized servings of Hawaiian, Korean and Pacific-Island foods such as Korean barbecued chicken, macaroni salad, shredded pork and even “Spam musubi.”
  • Hot Dawgs, offering all-beef kosher dogs as well as chicken sausage and Field Roast vegan sausage dogs, with a variety of toppings.
  • Red Brick BBQ, offering big eat-with-a-fork barbecue sandwiches with coleslaw and other side dishes.
  • Siganos, offering authentic street tacos, burritos, salsa and side dishes.

And what of Megatron? Siganos and Red Brick BBQ are temporarily housed together in a big mobile kitchen that Hodge said his crew call Megatron just for fun. Within the month, he said, those two eateries will each have their own wagon in Red Square. And HFS also is looking into adding another food truck in the lawn near the Allen Center for Computer Science and the Engineering Building.

Hodge, who is a chef by trade himself, said he and the UW Culinary Leadership team worked on each of the venues with input from students and staff. He said much credit also goes to Debbie Proctor, HFS administrator for retail dining and Bay Laurel Catering.

HFS — a fully self-sustaining unit on campus — has purchased these trucks and is staffing them with UW employees. Taking a quick chance to market his department, Hodge said, “We’ve made a substantial investment to have these options on campus … We’re here for our customers — students, faculty, staff and visitors — and we felt the need not only to offer other food services while the Husky Den is closed, but to keep up with trends. We’re one of the pioneering schools (with food truck meals) in the Pac 10.”

Finally, what does Hodge recommend? “I am partial to Red Brick Barbecue. The pulled pork sandwich with spicy barbecue sauce.” He added, “With the home-made slaw. You’ve got to have the whole thing — it’s enjoyable.”

The food trucks are open for service from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. They accept VISA and MasterCard, Husky Cards and the Resident Dining Account, but no cash. You can keep abreast of food truck offerings on an HFS web page, here.