Wauga Wauga did something that shocked us recently, so naturally I had to investigate to find out why. Having been active in the Jacksonville food truck scene for a little over a year, Wauga Wauga decided to say goodbye to their old truck and purchase a brand new one. This is obviously a massive financial commitment, but owner Dennis Waugerman knew it was a needed step. The previous Wauga Wauga truck was small and was purchased used, so the equipment and build out was already set in place. This wasn’t ideal for Wauga Wauga, as their gourmet fusion menu required more prep space to be able to have the customized food experience he desired to deliver to his customers. So they purchased a brand new huge food truck, customized every inch of the inside, and rewrapped it in the bright and cheery Wauga Wauga design that their customers know and love. Dennis is now able to try out new recipes and liven up the traditional favorites that defined Wauga Wauga’s menu from their inception. Dennis had 15 years in the restaurant business prior to switching to his food truck, which was primarily done because he wanted the mobility and also the opportunity to bring variety and new food to the entire city, not just one neighborhood. He enthusiastically told us that without God’s guidance, he wouldn’t have been able to develop his brand and pursue his dream in the manner in which they have been able to so far. We wanted the opportunity to try Wauga’s new menu and also some of their old favorites, so we jumped at the invitation to meet them at the Jax Food Truck Court a few weeks ago.
I have a working theory that food truck owners are some of the friendliest people on the planet. The theory holds true for Wauga Wauga. Food truck owners just always seem excited – their happiness to be doing what they love is very evident. Dennis fell right into that category, enthusiastically explaining the menu for the truck for that day. My friend and I decided to order their Bourbon Chicken Hoagie ($10), their Asian Bowl ($11), and the Sriracha Teriyaki Steak Tacos ($11) and then we also had a side of hand cut fries ($2). Other menu options included the popular Fiesta Nachos, which is the best selling entree option and includes fresh tortilla chips, queso blanco, bourbon chicken, bacon, and pineapple salsa, a bourbon chicken wrap, and a not a philly (but similar) hoagie.
Wauga Wauga has food preparation down to a science, and we had a very short wait while our food was freshly prepared for us to take inside the food truck court. First up for us to try was the Asian Bowl, which was beautifully plated and included lo mein noodles with grilled pineapple, sauteed shrimp, and topped with a ginger and pineapple salsa. Anyone who loves pineapple will adore this dish. I’m one of those people. Grilling pineapple makes it infinitely sweeter and more dessert like, and combined with the fresh jumbo shrimp that are lightly sauteed and tender and the perfectly al dente noodles, I was in heaven. Ginger lovers will be happy – the thinly shaved ginger on top provides a bite and tang against the sweeter elements. I wanted some vegetables in this for it to be perfect. A few zucchini slices and snap peas would take this dish from excellent to amazing. It’s really a home run either way though and very filling.
Next up were the Sriracha Teriyaki Steak Tacos. These tacos include teriyaki marinated steak, baby spinach, sriracha sauce, cheddar cheese, and pico de gallo on a soft flour tortilla. I’m a taco fanatic and these win everything. I could probably eat ten or a hundred depending on my mood. For those afraid of sriracha heat, don’t fear. These actually aren’t really that spicy; they just have the slight vinegar bite of sriracha to balance out the sweeter teriyaki. The steak is super tender and flavorful and you can taste the freshness in each taco. Wauga Wauga’s commitment to fresh preparation is evident in this dish. These tacos are light and the toppings are crisp and refreshing. For our final entree, we sampled the Bourbon Chicken Hoagie. This comes with bourbon chicken, red and green bell peppers (had to remove for the trial – allergy), grilled onions, chipotle remoulade, and a topping of queso blanco. The chicken is clearly marinated extensively for it to be as tender as it was on this sandwich. It is flavorful and rich with the heavy bourbon sauce and cushioned in by nice thick pillowy bread. This dish needed some sort of salty element; it finished very sweet to us. For those who are fans of sweet chicken, this would be perfect as is, no additions needed. For us, we needed something to cut through that. I think if I would have added some sriracha or pickles it would have been ideal for my own tastes. This was a much heavier juxtaposition to my lighter tacos. I love that you can pick out a lunch or dinner that suits how hungry you are. In between our entrees we snacked on their delicious, crispy, hand cut fries that I really should have gotten some queso on. They’re SO good, and you can really make a meal out of loaded fries if you get creative with add ons.
Wauga Wauga did something very brave in upgrading their truck and redesigning a menu after a year of established operation. I commend them for that and have utmost respect in them truly following their dreams. Dennis refused to settle for simplicity and instead is pursuing a more gourmet and complex menu offering that blends the familiarity of their old menu with the innovation and inspiration of fusion cuisine. If you’ve visited Wauga Wauga before, now is the time to go try them again. We know you’ll be impressed. If it’s your first time, you’ve timed it correctly! Go eat some tacos (really, eat the tacos), enjoy the excellent customer service, and show our food trucks how much we appreciate them offering us food that isn’t available anywhere else in Jacksonville. Wauga Wauga is a home run, and we know they’re here to stay.
Note: From time to time we’re invited out to try a restaurant or to taste new menu items. This meal is usually comped, as this one was. We’re under no obligation to write a positive review or any review at all when we’re invited out to try a place. Every review you see on our site will be an honest review of the place whether or not the restaurant provided us with the meal at their cost.
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