ByLiz Crowley | StamfordAdvocate.com
STAMFORD — A hot afternoon playing tennis in Scalzi Park might lead a city resident’s growling stomach to a new fast food truck, Snappy Bites, for their Philly-chilli-cheese-steak or nachos.
If you are in the mood for french fries, though, they can’t help you.
Shaun Zaro, owner of the truck, and his wife, Becky, serve steamed fast food, what they call the healthier unhealthy option. Instead of fries, they have nachos.
“Everybody loves it,” Zaro said. “(Get) away from oils. A little healthier for something that isn’t healthy.” Zaro and his wife opened Snappy Bites, whose mascot is a sprinting turtle, earlier this season, after Zaro experienced a kidney failure and had to leave his previous job to take care of himself. In 2001, Zaro donated a kidney to his mother. Years later, he developed a kidney ailment as well.
Zaro and Becky, who have lived in Stamford since they were kids, were always involved in the community. Zaro said he coached different children’s teams, like football, for a long time, and gets to see former players around the park. He said he feels like he’s more a part of the community in his truck than ever before.
“I look forward to coming here. It’s a great place to be,” he said.
Zaro said he always wanted to open a food stand when he retired; it just came earlier than he planned. But he said he is happy and loves the job. Mostly, he said he loves staying active and involved.
“Most people walk around talking about how they hate their job and I eat my job,” Zaro said.
He said he has secret recipes, but wouldn’t divulge which menu options incorporated them. Zaro’s grandfather was a chef, so he grew up learning to cook, he said. He used to host cookouts for 50 to 100 people, and said he would cook everything.
“I love cooking … it’s a passion,” Zaro said.
Snappy Bites is open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Though it is their first season and they have had no advertising, Zaro said they average more than 100 customers a day. Their busiest times are dinner and weekends. Zaro said they sold more than 500 hot dogs over Memorial Day weekend.
“Word has traveled around,” Zaro said. “Weekends get really busy. It’s just constant … It’s unbelievable the amount of people that flock to it.”
He said they plan to open a second truck by the end of the summer and hope to franchise.
“We will grow as we need to grow,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity. It’s a good industry.”
Snappy Bites offers customers a recession-friendly choice, said Zaro. They have a lunchtime deal that offers two hot dogs, with any toppings, and a soda for $5.
“Times are tight,” he said. “This is a great alternative.”