Devil’s Krafthouse, the first vendor that will open in the new West Union, received many positive reviews from students after serving free samples at the Bryan Center plaza Tuesday afternoon.
The event was the first of the Taste of West Union series, intended to pique student interest in the future venues of West Union, scheduled to partially open in February 2016. Operated by local Durham restaurant Geer Street Garden, Devil’s Krafthouse served make-your-own tacos with carnitas, grilled chicken and black beans alongside pico de gallo, sour cream and pickled carrots. Despite the rain, students criss-crossed the Bryan Center plaza waiting in line for free samples.
Many students enjoyed their tacos, complimenting Devil’s Krafthouse for their authentic taste.
“I was born in Houston and lived there for the first 14 years of my life. This really ranks up there, though it could use a few onions,” said sophomore George Bernard.
Students compared their sample tacos to other options on campus. Freshman Vishnu Menon commented that the sample taco tasted much better than its Marketplace equivalent. On the other hand, senior Chrislyn Choo said she could have made the sample tacos herself and preferred the tacos at Cafe Edens. Junior Kevin Lin said the tacos were reminiscent of those at NanaTaco.
Although he enjoyed his taco, senior Chris Woodard expressed concern that the taste of the sample tacos would not reflect the future offerings.
“I know Marketplace will do special food for a holiday or parents’ weekend, and they can pull it off for a weekend, but it’s not sustainable,” Woodard said.
Andy Magowan, owner of Geer Street Garden, said that quality would be maintained through a good staff and decent standards.
“Our goal for the food is to be very simple but also very high-quality...a little something for everyone,” he said, noting the availability of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
Christopher Roby, executive director of University Center Activities and Events, said he hopes Devil’s Krafthouse can serve as a venue for students to gather and watch sports, adding to the improved social aspect of the new West Union.
Devil’s Krafthouse was chosen in part because of the student body’s desire for local eateries, said Barbara Stokes, assistant director of dining services.
Magowan supported Duke Dining’s decision to incorporate local eateries as opposed to large chains like Chick-fil-A and said vendors connected to the community have more of a stake in serving good food. He also said that the decision seemed to reflect a trend of decreasing boundaries between Duke and Durham.
“When I first came here, it definitely seems like Duke students only came to one or two places off campus deemed ‘their thing’—and now I see Duke students all over town,” he said. “It’s nice for them to get out and see the town.”