Charles & Terry: food trucks & cafeterias.

Charles and Terry Gourmet Chinese is an on-campus restaurant in the Dawg House, MAT 153. It is currently open Monday–Thursday from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Owned by brothers Brandon and Jason Lee, Charles and Terry Gourmet Chinese originally partnered with UW Tacoma in May 2018 as part of a lunch pilot program to provide more food options on campus. 

“[The experience at UWT] has been positive,” said Brandon Lee, who is also an alumnus of UWT. “So far everything has been really good, business has been really steady … It’s kinda definitely a chill vibe …  I’m constantly changing the menu, I recently added a sweet red bean bun as well as mushroom and chicken buns.”

While the Lee brothers try to stay innovative, they admit there are restrictions currently while serving at UWT. The primary concern is that there is no designated space to prepare food on campus.

“It’s really limited,” Lee said. “I know there are two slots [to keep food heated]. Orange chicken is the popular one but the other I keep rotating. I do wish there was a kitchen … that I could use on campus.”

Charles and Terry Gourmet Chinese make their food from scratch. Preparation of the food is usually done off-campus then transported over to be placed in warming trays. Lee states this is due to insufficient ventilation in the Dawg House. He is hopeful that he will be able to boil, fry and wok dishes on-site in the future.

“I do believe once there is a cafeteria people will stay on campus more because of the food options,” Lee said. “Right now I feel like people are just driving off trying to find better food or cheaper food. I do feel it could be better.”

Lee believes that a cafeteria on campus — compared to food trucks — would be a greater advantage to students and restaurants. Food trucks would have to find designated parking and adhere to weather conditions, whereas a cafeteria is indoorsand could provide a kitchen to prepare a larger and fresher variety of dishes on-site, as well as an additional seating area for students and faculty to enjoy their meals.

Lee agrees that UWT has made good efforts to provide affordable food options on campus. He does believe more could be done and is hopeful to see more improvements.

“I was a student once and you’re always struggling to find food,” said Lee, “It’s important to have that healthiness.”

Brandon Lee is co-owner of Charles & Terry at UW Tacoma.