It’s no surprise that Kyle Hanjaras is finding immediate success with his food truck, comically named ‘Muncheeze’ - he’s a money-saver.
One step inside the big, yellow and blue truck shows the professionalism of the business, as each kitchen necessity is accounted for - fryers, a grill, hand-washing station, two freezers and a refrigerator, and a heavy-duty generator built into the undercarriage.
A look at the menu shows the high standards of cooking and food preparation, from hand-smoked pulled barbecue to fries that literally take an entire day to prep for the freezer.
Indeed, a look at Muncheeze as a whole would lead one to believe it’s a 30-person operation.
But Hanjaras did most of the work himself.
From designing valve-distribution systems for firing the ovens to building and welding a home-smoker, Hanjaras is a man of his means.
But to offer the quality in his food, saving on exterior expenses is a must.
“My theory is that I have one chance - one opportunity for that customer to take that first bite, and if they don’t like it, they won’t come back,” Hanjaras said. “I take such pride in my work.”
Hanjaras, 28, attended vocational-technical school for three years following his education at Elk Lake before moving onto Penn College for his bachelor’s degree in culinary arts, as well as an associate’s degree in hospital management.
To pay for his education, he served a seven-year post with the United States National Guard as a chef.
Combined, he has a 14-year history of cooking, including gigs at Martha’s Vineyard and the Radisson Hotel in Scranton.
With half of the initial investment made by his then-girlfriend Taylor Brainard, Haranjas was set to go.
Officially deemed a grilled-cheese stand, the mobile restaurant has a broad interpretation of what makes a good grilled cheese.
Take the “Porkin’ is Cheezy” sandwich, packed high with home-smoked barbecue and the Muncheeze secret sauce. It’s a grilled cheese, yes, but it’s unlike any you can find in the area.
Even down to the french fries, which take a full day to prepare for the freezer, Hanjaras puts attention and painstaking detail into every menu item.
But the result is evident. Hanjaras’ prep method for french fries results in a home-cut french fry that’s as crispy as it is flavorful.
“I’ll put my french fries against any in the world,” Hanjaras said. “They’re out of this world. I strive for every fry to be the perfect fry.”
He’s assisted on the grill by a younger cousin, Lucas LaRue, a junior at Mountain View who, according to Hanjaras, is the only one allowed to cook the recipes besides Hanjaras himself.
On the experience, LaRue said, “You learn not to make mistakes.”
Business has been steady since he reopened in May - he’s even been able to take a break from cold-calling businesses to see if any would like a food truck for the lunch hour.
Instead, calls roll in on their own, for both offering lunch items and full-on catering events.
From a time when he could only envision himself using his talents in fine dining, Hanjaras has enjoyed the ‘mobile’ food business much more than he expected to.
“What I love about this specific business is that it’s mobile. I get to meet new people everyday,” Hanjaras said.
Even more, he’s afforded the chance to give customers that ‘one bite’ that may mold them into diehard Muncheeze fans, making every day a display of his passion for his food.
Plus, Muncheeze food is such a comfort food, it’s hard not to be drawn to it.
“They see that and it brings them back,” Hanjaras said. “To watch that and to make them happy - that’s what gets me up in the morning and moves me forward.”
Hanjaras strives to be a bigger part of the community through working with local businesses for supplies he needs as well as assisting in charities whenever he gets the chance.
For more information on the food truck, where it will be posted, or to request services, call Hanjaras at 570-971-7933 or go www.facebook.com/MuncheezeLLC.