Students walk past Vendor's Row Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011. Photo by Daniel Berman/The AS Review.

Kirsten O'Brien/The AS Review

There are some new kids on the block at Western’s Vendors Row, and they are not going unnoticed by students and staff.

In place of the hot dogs offered by Marc Ravaris, owner of late night downtown food destination El Capitan’s, students will be able to pick up a piping hot shepherd’s pie or a fully loaded burrito thanks to the new residents of Vendors Row, Man Pies and Las Cazuelas.

Located outside the main entrance of the Viking Union, Vendors Row is always a flurry of activity. On any given day, students can walk past clubs promoting an event, community organizations rallying students around their causes and of course, grab some grub at QQ Li’s Chinese food or get a hot drink from The Coffee Lady. Since 2003, students had also been able to grab a juicy bratwurst from El Capitan’s, at least until now. Greg McBride, VU operations manager, said that Ravaris decided not to renew his quarterly contract with the university. McBride said that Ravaris did not give a reason for leaving, and had been a long-time fixture on the row.

While some may be sad to see a Vendors Row veteran go, Ravaris’ departure freed up spots for two new vendors.
Man Pies is one vendor in particular that has created noticeable excitement among students, McBride said.

“People were very excited when they saw Man Pies setting up,” McBride said. “I believe they have a strong connection with the students because of their downtown location.”

Man Pies is a relatively new restaurant, opening its doors on Railroad Avenue this past July. Owners Bryce Sharp and Nathan Lowe have made Man Pies a go-to destination for a filling meal, and their current menu features five different kinds of shepherd’s pie-style meat and veggie pies. The downtown location is open until 3 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday, which has made it popular among students looking for a late night snack after the bars close, Sharp said. He said that the shop’s downtown presence has built a reputation among students.

“We offer long, consistent hours, and people are able to walk in and walk out with good food,” Sharp said.

The Vendors Row Man Pies location offers chicken, beef, veggie and pork-and-bean pies for $5.99.

Man Pies employee Claire Meyers hands out an order on Vendors Row Thursday, Feb. 3. Photo by Daniel Berman/The AS Review.

“We’ve only been out here since last Tuesday, but the response from students and staff has been overwhelmingly positive,” Sharp said. “This is not diet food by any stretch of the imagination, but its good hearty, healthy food. We’re out here to feed people.”

Las Cazuelas Mexican food has also taken up residence on Vendors Row. The Ferndale-based restaurant offers enchiladas, tamales, chimichangas, soft tacos, breakfast and lunch burritos and a variety of vegetarian options. McBride said that Las Cazuelas fills the gap that existed among campus eateries.

“They offer authentic Mexican food, which is something that campus dining services doesn’t have,” he said. “There was a big genre of food that was not available on campus.”