For late-night partiers who don’t want to make the trek to Summerfields, food carts stationed along High Street offer convenient late-night munchies alternatives. On weekend nights, ravenous students can be found lining up next to a steaming, smoking cart dispensing snacks and drinks.
Brothers Bellal and Muhammed Chater run one of the carts, which sets up on High Street across from Eclectic. There is a second independently owned cart specializing in hot dogs and located further down High Street, across from Psi U.
The Chater brothers’ cart features Middle Eastern favorites, including falafels, chicken kebabs and gyros, plus hot dogs, breakfast wraps, and an assortment of other items.
According to Bellal Chater, his peak hours of business are usually from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. Dan Charness ’10 agreed.
“The carts seem to get a lot of business, especially when they time their presence with any sort of party on High Street,” Charness said.
The Chaters usually open shop Wednesday through Friday, but the schedule varies depending on how many parties are taking place on High Street. The brothers share the workload and at times take out more than one cart.
The Chaters also try to maintain strong communication with the campus community, posting menus in key places such as Hi-Rise and Eclectic and offering up their services for larger events on campus.
“The business is just starting to move on,” Bellal Chater said. He also hopes that as the word spreads, more students will visit the cart.
The Chater family owns Mamoun’s, a pair of falafel restaurants, one located in New York City and one in New Haven. Until two years ago, the brothers also ran a Mamoun’s Falafel on Main Street.
“It was not because the business was dying down [that the Middletown location closed], but because some of the brothers in the family started a side business that overtook the restaurant,” said Jim, who manages the cart. He declined to give his last name.
Jim has been involved in the business since the 1970s. As a long-time family friend, he prefers to consider himself the advisor of the restaurant as opposed to the manager.
According to Jim, their Greenwich Village location, which is open until 5 a.m., has always attracted many musicians due to its late-night schedule. The Mamoun’s in New Haven has also been a great success and, according to the Yale Herald, is very popular with Yale students.
According to Jim, many people have encouraged the family to open back up. The food cart on High Street brings Mamoun’s presence back to Middletown and many students are raving about the food.
“They are the best hot dogs I have ever had,” Charness said. Many also agree that the carts are a convenient and tasty alternative to Summerfields.
Several students have expressed concerns regarding the cost of food at the Chater brothers’ cart. According to the menu listed at www.mamounsfalafel.com, prices at the restaurant are considerably less than those at the food cart. But this doesn’t seem to stop students from indulging in the tasty late-night offerings, and Charness suggests that the late-night prices were fair for the product.
“While the prices may be on the higher side, the quality of food and the convenient locations makes the food carts a very good option,” he said.
According to Bellal Chater, the brothers hope to begin operating a regular food truck instead of a cart in the coming winter months.