At the Tanque Verde Swap Meet, Tucsons sprawling outdoor market where thousands flock each weekend looking for bargains and treasures, borscht is now on the menu.

Ukies Modern Ukrainian Cuisine launched the weekend before last amid the rows of sellers, unloading everything from thrift store clothing finds to vintage video games. The food trailer offers hearty Eastern European staples to curious customers often unfamiliar with what kinds of foods Ukraine has to offer.

The trailers menu includes Ukrainian-style cabbage rolls known as holubtsi; dumplings called varenyky, not unlike the Polish pierogi, filled with potatoes, beef, cream cheese or cherries; zrazy, potato-based hand pies stuffed with beef and onions; and zurek, a popular Polish soup with a dark rye starter, pork, parsnips, celery, onion and garlic.

At the top of the menu is borscht, the traditional soup that is made with beets, cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, garlic, celery, onions and pork if you’d like meat.

For owner Kat Vandiveer, borscht was an essential piece of the puzzle.

Borscht is more than just a soup, Vandiveer said, It is a philosophy, a cure, a battlefield. It is a topic of discussion. It is something that will calm your soul and fill your stomach.

Vandiveer was born and raised in Kyiv, Ukraine, and has been cooking Ukrainian food since she was 9 years old. She picked up her culinary talents from her mother and grandmother.

Eating together is a very common thing in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, Vandiveer said. My mother cooked a lot for family gatherings. My grandmother was a great baker. She was awesome. I will probably never get to that level.

Vandiveer always had an appreciation for Ukrainian cuisine.

It is robust, very simple, she said. It is filling. You eat two times a day and you are good to go.

She didnt cook professionally until after she married her husband and moved to the United States for his job.

She had toyed with the idea of opening a food trailer while living in Alaska. She was a cook at a diner and noticed that the local Serbian restaurant, Moose-AKas, was doing exceptionally well.

They had 40-minute lines, Vandiveer said. I saw the menu and I was a little bit shocked. It was the food I had all my life; mashed potatoes, schnitzel, cabbage rolls. I was surprised at how food so familiar had such a huge effect.

Vandiveer and her husband eventually relocated to Denver, then to Tucson this past February. By the time she hit Southern Arizona, the desire was overwhelming. She opted for a trailer over a brick-and-mortar location.

Trailers dont take as much of an investment, she said. It is an easier way to enter the industry.

A week in and Vandiveer still needs to find her audience. While the swap meet, at 4100 S. Pale Verde Road, is packed on Friday and Saturday nights, many shoppers arent familiar with Ukrainian cuisine, and with an entire food truck park on-site, they have a lot of options to choose from.

I have not had huge lines yet, but I have had great feedback, she said.

Vandiveer is looking to expand her presence at food truck roundups in the area and has been told to give some of the outlying communities, such as Green Valley, Sahuarita, Marana and Oro Valley, a shot.

She has also reached out to the folks at Tucson Meet Yourself, and said they are trying to get her on the roster.

They told me that they offer training for first-timers on how to handle the crowds, she said.

Vandiveer said her family back home is proud of her efforts. Her brother is currently involved in drone reconnaissance with the Ukrainian Army in the war against Russia. Her parents are living in Ukraine outside of the main conflict zones.

She hopes someday they will be able to come and visit her to see her new venture.

They are happy for us, for me, she said. My mom said it was my childhood dream to have a restaurant.

Ukies is generally open 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Fridays-Sundays at the Tanque Verde Swap Meet, 4100 S. Palo Verde Road.