Chef Jeffery Zeckser is a professional chef who recently began serving tacos and tamales out of his trailer at the Manhattan Farmer’s Market and outside of Public Hall in Aggieville.
Zeckser has been cooking since he was a kid, working professionally for restaurants in cities like Kansas City and Houston.
During the pandemic, Zeckser decided to move closer to his family. Once in Manhattan and looking for ways to make extra income, Zeckser had the idea with help from a friend to cook and sell food.
“I’ve been a professional chef for a while, so I figured why not make food,” Zeckser said.
After Zackser decided to try out his side gig, he still had to determine what kind of food to sell.
“I was just kind of thinking about what would be something that I can make that people like, there is demand for and it is easy to store for a long time and doesn’t necessarily have to be something easy to make — something you can make in bulk and sell a bunch of — and I came up with the idea of tamales,” Zeckser said.
He then got to work making tamales to sell at the Manhattan farmer’s market.
“I made a hundred dozen of them one time, went to the farmer’s market and almost completely sold out and said, ‘Holy cow, this is cool,'” Zeckser said.
At Public Hall, the partners were talking about ways to expand their business to reach the nightlife in Aggieville. After trying Zeckser’s food, David Sauter, a partner at Public Hall, said they found what they were looking for.
“We have discussed having a late-night food truck on the patio,” Sauter said. “I tried Jeff’s food at the farmers market and flipped out. We then approached him about the idea … and he was open to the idea of trying,” Sauter said.
As temperatures drop, locals can still enjoy Zeckser’s tacos and tamales comfortably at a table in the warmth thanks to Public Hall’s heated patio.
“Thankfully, Public Hall is letting me use their patio, so they have a heated patio, so if it’s kind of chilly, you can still buy tacos, sit under the heaters,” Zeckser said.
Aggieville is a popular spot for college kids, locals and local businesses.
“I know about everyone and their mother with a food truck wants to do Aggieville, and I am super grateful to have this opportunity,” Zeckser said.
Having an alternative late-night food option in Aggieville has grabbed a lot of attention and excitement, especially since the menu is almost completely handmade.
“I am all about late-night food options in Aggieville, so yes, it will be a great addition. It seems to be a local small business, so that’s also exciting to get to support that in our community,” Benjamin Rost, senior in marketing, said.
Currently, Zeckser offers birria tacos, carnitas tacos and carnitas tamales. Everything but the tortillas is handmade, and he changes the menu seasonally.
“… We are delighted to have an exceptional food operation add to what we are trying to do in Aggieville,” Sauter said.
Locals and college students are enjoying the tacos so far.
“The tacos were good! Fairly cheap and homemade …” Rost said.