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Brothers turn passion for vegan fare into Brownsville business

July 30, 2018

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WILD OATS

Brothers turn passion for vegan fare into Brownsville business

By NADIA TAMEZ-ROBLEDO

Staff Writer

When Anubis and Ramses Avalos decided to eschew all meat in favor of a vegan diet more than two years ago, it didn’t cause much of a stir in their family. What did surprise people was when the brothers, both musicians, decided to share their plant-based culinary lifestyle more widely by making a business out of it.

The pair owns the Chile de Árbol food truck headquartered at the Broken Sprocket food truck park and touts the all-vegan menu as the first of its kind in Brownsville. The brothers serve up tacos, burgers and Indian-inspired bowls — all without meat, eggs or dairy. Everything is made from scratch, down to the soy sauce, and the prices top out at $5.50.

“People think you have to break that bank to be healthy. That’s caused by restaurants selling a little salad for $12 or $15,” said Anubis Avalos, 30, a guitar teacher at Porter Early College High School. “We want to make it affordable for everyone.”

The most popular menu items have been the tacos, said Ramses Avalos, 25, made with the wheat- and soy-based meat alternatives seitan and tempeh. Entrees also include tempeh and black bean burgers, as well as Indian-inspired curry and dahl bowls.

The brothers said they were introduced to veganism by a college professor, but they didn’t embrace it until watching a documentary that explored the environmental impact of animal agriculture. Dining out came to present a problem, and they learned to cook vegan cuisine for themselves.

“We realized there weren’t any options other than (the) rice and bean taco at Taco Palenque or Taco Bell,” Anubis Avalos said, adding that part the Chile de Árbol concept was to give other vegans a break from cooking at home. “We thought of ourselves as a healthy cafeteria.”

nadia@brownsvilleherald.com

A more complete version of this story is available on www.myBrownsvilleHerald.com

Premium Version

WILD OATS

Brothers turn passion for vegan fare into Brownsville business

By NADIA TAMEZ-ROBLEDO

Staff Writer

When Anubis and Ramses Avalos decided to eschew all meat in favor of a vegan diet more than two years ago, it didn’t cause much of a stir in their family. What did surprise people was when the brothers, both musicians, decided to share their plant-based culinary lifestyle more widely by making a business out of it.

The pair owns the Chile de Árbol food truck headquartered at the Broken Sprocket food truck park and touts the all-vegan menu as the first of its kind in Brownsville. The brothers serve up tacos, burgers and Indian-inspired bowls — all without meat, eggs or dairy. Everything is made from scratch, down to the soy sauce, and the prices top out at $5.50.

“People think you have to break that bank to be healthy. That’s caused by restaurants selling a little salad for $12 or $15,” said Anubis Avalos, 30, a guitar teacher at Porter Early College High School. “We want to make it affordable for everyone.”

The most popular menu items have been the tacos, said Ramses Avalos, 25, made with the wheat- and soy-based meat alternatives seitan and tempeh. Entrees also include tempeh and black bean burgers, as well as Indian-inspired curry and dahl bowls.

The brothers said they were introduced to veganism by a college professor, but they didn’t embrace it until watching a documentary that explored the environmental impact of animal agriculture. Dining out came to present a problem, and they learned to cook vegan cuisine for themselves.

“We realized there weren’t any options other than (the) rice and bean taco at Taco Palenque or Taco Bell,” Anubis Avalos said, adding that part the Chile de Árbol concept was to give other vegans a break from cooking at home. “We thought of ourselves as a healthy cafeteria.”

Ramses Avalos said the endeavor also is the brothers’ own form of activism, and they’re looking to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant in the future.

“We want to show that you can eat really good food that’s healthy and good for the planet and yourself,” he said.

Anubis Avalos said they started with burgers and tacos because people are comfortable with those foods, and Indian curry was a staple in their home cooking. Now customers are asking for the “vegan tacos that taste like meat.”

They opened Chile de Árbol during Thanksgiving week 2017, one month after they conceived the idea. The food truck has been operating steadily since January, with Ramses Avalos running it full-time with one employee.

“Our first day was overwhelming,” Anubis Avalos said. “We sold out after two hours, and we weren’t expecting that.”

They originally intended to open the business in Mexico, where they could be close to their parents near Puerto Vallarta. They decided to stay in Brownsville after Ramses Avalos graduated from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, partly because they realized Chile de Árbol would be the first fully vegan eatery in the city.

“We thought the place that needs it the most is Brownsville,” Ramses Avalos said.

The brothers don’t want to be part of young talent that leaves the city for places like Austin, Anubis Avalos said.

“It’s not fair that big cities get the brightest minds because people want to live there,” he said, adding that people who remain in the area tend to prefer sticking to traditions. “I don’t think we want to break tradition, but we want to (approach) it in a different way.”

Chile de Árbol is open 5-9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday at the Broken Sprocket, 6305 Paredes Line Road, Brownsville. For more information, call (956) 545-3800 or view the menu at facebook.com/ ChdeArbol.

nadia@brownsvilleherald.com

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