The owners of the Mediterranean Chunky Monkey food truck juggle more than just business and food.
Raffi Nasr, a junior marketing major and Kyle Heshtag, a senior environmental science major, are full-time students who own and run the Chunky Monkey.
Nasr said the idea came to him when he saw a food truck parked in the Greek.
“I said to myself, what if that was there all the time?” Nasr said.
Nasr became partners with Heshtag after they took a class together in the Neeley School of Business. After putting together a business plan, the two pitched the idea of a food truck to university administrators in November, Heshtag said. Administrators approved their plan in April.
After purchasing and refurbishing a used truck, Nasr and Heshtag opened their business in August. The menu was inspired by Nasr’s cooking, which Nasr said is a Texas-style Mediterranean blend.
“I learned to cook while tailgating for Texans games,” Nasr said. “I wanted to mix American cuisine I knew how to cook with my Lebanese cuisine.”
Nasr said his experience in restaurants helped him adjust to his new job. Born into a family of restaurant entrepreneurs, Nasr worked in his family’s kitchens in both Lebanon and Houston. Because of this experience, Nasr was able to experiment with recipes and build what he calls his signature style.
Chunky Monkey features specialty dishes, such as a Texan take on the chicken shawarma, called the Donkey Kong. Featuring jalapeno coleslaw, polish pickles and hand cut fries, the Donkey Kong is put together with a marinated chicken breast and seven different Mediterranean spices. Nasr said he believes it's one of two signature dishes at Chunky Monkey.
Homemade waffles are Chunky Monkey's other signature food, particularly the red velvet waffle. Made with a red velvet cake batter, the waffle is cut into four pieces, then covered in a sweet cream cheese frosting, powdered sugar and sprinkles.
Chunky Monkey is open during evenings and can be found in the Mary Couts Burnett Library parking lot from Monday to Wednesday, and in the Greek from Thursday to Saturday. The food truck is also open from 11 p.m.-2 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.