El Chapos!

Posted: 03/04/2024

Ever wondered why we are called "food for dudes (and dudettes)"? It's a funny name, sure, but it perfectly captures my love for the kind of hearty, meaty food that makes you ignore the calorie count—think massive burgers, loaded hotdogs, and saucy ribs.

I never planned to be known for making some of the best burgers in Australia. It just kind of happened. When it came time to name my adventure, my creativity only stretched as far as "Foods for Dudes." I added "and Dudettes" to make sure everyone knew they were welcome, no matter what.

The signwriters draft was written "food for dudes (and dudettes) and there you have it. Our name was created.

We started simple: burgers and burritos. I also tried my hand at rib specials, nachos, and whatever else caught my fancy. The burgers and burritos were a hit from the beginning. The ribs, not so much. Maybe I was just a bit ahead of the curve with those?

Two years in, we were swamped, serving almost 1000 customers a week. It was great, but it also meant we had to make some tough calls. To keep up, we needed to stop making burritos, even though, between you and me, I've always been more of a burrito guy.

That's when I got the idea for a food van. I called it "El Chapos" – a play on the notorious El Chapo, sure, but also a nod to my last name, Chapman. Building the van was a saga of its own, especially after we got robbed and a crook took off with all my tools and materials. It took us seven months, but we got there in the end, minus a final paint job.

With El Chapos ready to roll, burritos were back on the menu plus tacos and nachos. We kicked things off in December 2019, and then, well, COVID hit. Those were some uncertain times, not knowing from one day to the next if we could open.

This year, we had to move El Chapos because of staff shortages and the economy hitting us hard. But, there's a silver lining. As of this week, we're bringing Chapos back to Invermay, open Thursday to Sunday from 12pm to 8pm.

ben and bec having a break