Chef Nick Yamada and Nani Nikcevich, owners of Uahi Island Grill, are bringing contemporary island food to WCC, and so far, the response seems positive.
With their flagship restaurant in Kailua and a food truck on the Mānoa campus, Yamada and Nikcevich decided another food truck would bring even more success to their business.
Uahi Island Grill has a four-and- a-half star rating on Yelp and was also featured on an episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” with Guy Fieri.
Fieri loved the fresh grilled fish in Thai red curry with the green papaya salad. He declared a slow-poached Mandarin duck confit “spot on.”
Uahi Island Grill is known for using natural grass-fed Big Island beef, their own Uahi farm-grown vegetables, as well as biodegradable utensils and containers.
The new food truck set up shop near the library walkway Jan. 20 and has drawn a steady stream of customers. They’re open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Menu items include furikake grilled chicken ($8.50), kalua pork with kale ($8.50), burger ($7) and sriracha glazed fish plate ($12) — all served with a choice of brown or white rice, and mac salad or green papaya salad.
The truck has also begun offering mini plates for half the price of a full serving.
Various sandwich options, hamburgers, poke bowls and poke salad are available as well as vegan options such as tofu furikake and sriracha glazed tofu ($8).
Although some may say the costs are still a little steep for a college student, Yamada maintains that “it worked at Mānoa.”
One WCC student, when asked about the new truck, said, “I think I’ll stick with my bagel and chocolate milk from The Hub,” the library coffee shop.
However, another student said, “ A little variety is nice, no matter the cost. I’m excited for this new truck.”
The only other source of campus food, besides the vending machines, is the WCC bookstore, which offers frozen pizza, burritos, ramen noodles and assorted snacks.
Kevin Ishida, vice chancellor for administrative services, mentioned that future trucks may be possible.
“We wanted to start off with one truck and see if they will be able fulfill the food service needs of the campus. If not, we will look into other options,” he explained.
Ishida also noted that the truck, the Hub and the bookstore won’t be the only places you can find food on campus in the future.
“WCC’s non-credit program will be starting their food incubator program at the cafeteria in the fall, which will also be serving food to the campus,” he added.
by Andrew Drake, Ka ‘Ohana Staff Reporter