I tried three new menu items from Good Uncle and I think you should try them, too
Good Uncle just re-vamped its menu to include new entrees (Jack Roscoe/For The Diamondback).
If University of Maryland Police cars are the most recognizable vehicles on campus and DOTS buses are second, then Good Uncle trucks must be third on the list. The black vans are wheeling around campus and dishing out food for the third consecutive year, now with new menu additions.
Following in Syracuse University’s footsteps, this university was the second school to have the trucks on and around campus. Now, Good Uncle operates at eight schools, including near the Johns Hopkins campus in Baltimore. On the surface, the concept isn’t new — Good Uncle is a meal delivery service in a market saturated with meal delivery services. But instead of delivering meals from various restaurants like Uber Eats and DoorDash do, Good Uncle has its own unique menu, and if you ask its chief culinary officer, Erik Battes, he’ll tell you his business is far from average.
“Our food is designed around delivery,” Battes said. “Our delivery trucks have a system where our food finishes cooking on the way to the customer.”
Besides its convenience, Good Uncle also often presents students with healthier options than they might get in the College Park area. There are quite a few high-calorie items on the menu, but students can also choose from salads and grain bowls.
“I think that moderation and balance in our customers’ eating habits is important to think about,” Battes said. “A lot of our students are health conscious, but sometimes they want to eat indulgent food.”
While the variety in meal choices might be drawing students toward Good Uncle, the price-point might be driving them away. Although it doesn’t include delivery fees, most entrees are in the $10 and up range. A few days ago, I sat down with three of the new entrees and an empty stomach, ready to review.
Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese ($9.99)
Probably the most indulgent item on today’s list, the Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese is exactly what you’d expect. The cheesy mess of macaroni, breaded chicken and Buffalo sauce is as tasty as it is sleep-inducing.
The chicken is a little soggy and doesn’t have as much crispiness and structure as I’d prefer, but that’s to be expected when sitting in a closed container with hot pasta and cheese. This dish is the perfect late-night snack, a treat-yourself-meal right before you go to bed.
Korean BBQ Beef Bowl ($12.99)
The Korean BBQ Bowl is high-priced and comes with high praise — the app identifies it as a popular one and Battes says it is one of his favorites. The $12.99 price tag makes sense for the steak-filled dish, but the meat was a bit dry for my taste. The soft-boiled egg and sesame spinach were a really a nice addition — they’re flavorful and healthy.
It’s a beautiful-looking dish, especially when you add the scallions, carrots, cucumber kimchi and spicy sauce that come on the side. While it is one of the most expensive items on the menu, you certainly get a lot of food.
Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps ($10.49)
I should note before I begin that lettuce wraps have long been one of my favorite dishes, so there’s definite bias on my end, but these Good Uncle ones hold their own against any other lettuce wraps I’ve had in the past.
They do it in a build-your-own style; providing you with lettuce, chicken, rice, pickled vegetables and sauce. The key to a good lettuce wrap is making sure the lettuce doesn’t tear when you bite it, leaving you with only one good bite of lettuce and meat before you’re scooping everything off your plate with a fork. Thankfully, the lettuce in this recipe holds firm, making it my personal favorite on the menu. Order these when you have friends over — it’s a good treat to share with a group.