Paul and Jasmine Arroyo creates Chickpeasy with a passion of making people happy through great cuisine and personal connection. Our dishes were inspired by classic mediterranean food with a twist and culinary creativity.
Jasmine Arroyo, another food truck operator, said her business is in full-swing, even during the COVID pandemic. Before Jasmine and her husband Paul Arroyo started their food truck, Chickpeasy on Wheels, the two worked in restaurants, she said. They knew how restaurants were faring during the pandemic.
But the pandemic didn’t stop the couple from starting their business in April 2020.
On a cold night in December, the Chickpeasy on Wheels truck is planted in the clubhouse parking lot at Mason’s Bend neighborhood in Fort Mill. On these nights, there’s no dining room table with a fancy chandelier. There’s just a parking lot and a dim spotlight shining on the workings of the Arroyos.
They have a different strategy for their truck! Chickpeasy on Wheels is traveling to neighborhoods. That strategy has paid off for the Fort Mill couple.
During COVID, “there was a lot of takeout, a lot of deliveries, so the neighborhoods got together and thought ‘why don’t we just have trucks come here’? Which worked out great for us because we got our name out,” Jasmine Arroyo said.
Now customers reach out to the pair on Facebook, Instagram and through their website.
“I would say 90 percent of our bookings came from inquiries from people that were just helping their neighborhood out and so they were messaging, which turned out great in terms of keeping everyone safe,” she said.
Now the food truck has regular customers and neighborhood gigs, she added. They even have repeat customers who follow them to different neighborhoods. The couple averages about 25 events a month and work long hours.
“They’ve been tracking us down, so once we get a guest, more often than not, they just become a repeat guest and you start recognizing all of the names,” Jasmine Arroyo said. “They greet us by our names, which is nice because it gives that close, hometown feel.”
The Arroyo’s serve Mediterranean fusion, with an emphasis on Lebanese cuisine. She is half Lebanese and the couple decided to make food based on things she prepares at home.
That’s how they came up with the name Chickpeasy.
Most of the dishes have chickpeas and hummus, which is made from chickpeas. And many of the dishes are comprised of chicken.
“My husband, being the trained chef that he is, he’s able to turn things that didn’t actually have a recipe, because all of the recipes are in my head,” Jasmine Arroyo said. “A little dab of this here and there, he really turned it into a functioning business.”
The most popular dish is the chicken kabob combo served with cucumber salad, yellow rice and fried pita chips. The chicken sandwich is also a favorite, served on gyro bread with chunks of chicken, hummus spread, and a tahini white sauce, unique to the Arroyos.
Another well-liked dish is kefta, which is a Lebanese-style meatball.
Chef Paul Arroyo butchers all of the meat and makes everything from scratch. He was born in the Philippines, grew up in Queens, N.Y., and attended culinary school in Manhattan. He said he had a dream of opening a restaurant but decided to open a food truck instead because it’s smaller and easier to manage.
He and Jasmine Arroyo, from Florida, met while working at a restaurant in Maryland. Her sister lives in Fort Mill and the pair were visiting often when they decided to stay. They’ve been in Fort Mill for 2 years now.
Customer Codi Garfinkle, a transplant from California, said she heard about Chickpeasy on Wheels from her Fort Mill neighborhood Facebook post.
“I can just grab my food right here in the neighborhood without having to go into a restaurant,” she said. “I ordered a little bit of everything.”
Customer Joshua Jones stood shivering on a sidewalk waiting for his hot food. He said he has explored all of the dishes.
“Every single time Chickpeasy comes to our neighborhood, my wife and I order dinner from them,” Jones said. His favorite is the kefta kabob.
“It’s delicious, it’s full of flavor, a great variety and something for everyone,” he said. “You can’t go wrong, even with the price.”