Dining With Denise Neil

Chef has plans to improve gas station food in Wichita

Chef Marwan Chebaro plans to begin serving Lebanese and Mexican food in local gas stations.
Chef Marwan Chebaro plans to begin serving Lebanese and Mexican food in local gas stations.

A Kansas City-based chef is starting a business that will soon fill several local gas stations with fresh Lebanese and Mexican food.

Marwan Chebaro, who provides corporate food service in Kansas City, says he plans to install food service counters in some local Valero stores, and he’s starting with the one at 12728 E. Central. Within a month or so, he plans to start serving Lebanese food starring fresh beef and lamb shawarma meat cut from a spit along with Mexican food made with Mexican chicken.

His shawarma sandwiches will be served on flat pita bread, and customers can choose from sauces like tzaziki, a Moroccan hot chili sauce and a traditional Lebanese garlic sauce, to name a few. Those who choose the Mexican chicken can get it in burrito or taco form with topping choices like pic de gallo, cilnatro and tomatillo salsa. He’ll also serve hummus, yellow basmati rice and pinto and black beans.

In the first store, Chebaro said, he’ll serve both Mexican and Lebanese food. He’s also planning to open in a gas station in Augusta, two in Winfield and one in Lawrence. Those stores are smaller, though, and he’ll just serve Mexican in those.

He’s toying with two name ideas. He plans to call the Lebanese side Shawarma Guy. The Mexican food business might be called Burrito Talk, but he hasn’t settled on it.

Chebaro will be at the Wichita Valero on Thursday from 3 to 5 p.m. passing out samples.

He has worked in the past doing corporate food service at Koch Industries and Spirit in Wichita and is now serving on the Sprint Campus in Overland Park at at the KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan.

Chebaro compares what he plans to do to what Hunts Brothers Pizza does in other gas stations and what QuikTrip does with its kitchens.

“Gas stations have to create a new source of revenue, and food seems to be the best model,” he said. “The goal is basically to create a higher end food service at gas stations, not just regular pizza and sandwiches and delis.”