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Friday, December 3, 2021

University alumnus uses food truck to celebrate culture with a sweet treat

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Article Originally Published by Adrianna Barrera on North Texas Daily

Article Originally Published by Adrianna Barrera on North Texas Daily

Just off the Denton Square’s East Side food truck park sits a new, bright pink addition, El Cucuy Burritos.

Mark Kimberlin, university alumnus and Dallas native, opened the truck in September.

The truck originally opened to serve California-style burritos, but a new menu item has recently been added to the truck’s lineup: Thicc Boi Cookies. The name comes from the size and density of the cookies, and they have almost turned into their own brand that operates out of the truck, Kimberlin said.

After working in the restaurant industry for more than 10 years, Kimberlin said he decided he wanted the freedom he could get from having his own business.

“I’ve worked in restaurants at just about every capacity from waiting tables to kitchen management, so it’s nice to get things going on my own,” Kimberlin said. “I’m happy to be doing that.”

With hardly any start-up capital, the now-Denton resident said he put faith into his skills, employees and menu to bring his idea to fruition.

“This experience of starting up has been awesome and scary,” Kimberlin said. “It’s a big step to take and it’s a huge undertaking for some people, but I think it’s worked out so far.”

Kimberlin combined his art background, restaurant experience and love for cooking to create El Cucuy Burritos. The businessman comes up with the recipes for burritos and cookies on his own, with a savory side of the menu being a nod to Mexican cuisine and mythical figures.

El Cucuy Burritos makes Mexican and Latin-themed burritos with names coming from folklores, such as La Llorona, El Chupacabra and the specialty El Cucuy.

“The food is meant to be inclusive and to tell stories of these cultures,” Kimberlin said. “I want people to come into El Cucuy and for it to be a cultural experience, so they come back wanting more of the story.”

Since its inception, the menu has grown to feature vegan items, specifically Carne Asada fries and Thicc Boi Cookies.

“They’re very dangerous because they’re addictive,” he said. “They’re all really good and our signature cookie base is what makes them all special and consistent and recognizable as ‘thicc bois.’”

Denton resident Eric Pauda, 33, said working for El Cucuy Cookies has been a positive experience.

“Mark is straightforward with his expectations and is just overall a cool guy,” Pauda said.

Pauda said Kimberlin’s recipes make the food truck special.

“The textures and flavors are amazing, and I think that is the key to their deliciousness,” Pauda said.

El Cucuy Burritos sources its ingredients from locally grown produce and prioritizes serving fresh food, according to its website. Kimberlin said selling good food starts with substantial ingredients, and he hopes his businesses’ integrity to flavor and culture is translated through the food.

“We always try to treat people right and create good food — that’s number one,” Kimberlin said. “Making sure our employees are happy and keeping customers happy is important to us.”

Dan Sullivan, Denton resident and Kimberlin’s friend, said he is happy for the new restaurateur.

“I’m super proud of him,” Sullivan said. “Watching him plan it all out, making recipes, just doing it all by himself from the start has been inspiring.”

Kimberlin hopes to eventually open a storefront for El Cucuy Burritos, but for now, he is taking small steps and celebrating his victories as they happen.

Going forward, Kimberlin wants to keep his food truck in the Denton area, and those interested can find the food truck parked at Austin Street Food Park or 117 E. Oak St., with updates appearing on the El Cucuy Burritos website or its Instagram @elcucuyburritos.

Image source @thiccycookies on Instagram

Source: North Texas Daily

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