Zou Doggs hot dog stand adds Greek food to its menu

Zou Doggs hot dog stand started selling gyros on a bed of fries this week.

Racks of spinning meat will be spotted on campus this week.

Hot dog cart Zou Doggs, located outside of the Agricultural Science Building, started serving gyros for the first time today. Owner Umar Mohmed, 26, said he still plans to sell hot dogs, but he wanted to improve his menu.

“I love to cook,” Mohmed said.

The gyro looks a little different from those served downtown at the International Cafe or Casablanca. Mohmed’s chicken and beef gyros ride on a bed of fries, instead of being wrapped in pita.

Mohmed plans to use the traditional halal meat, which is certified under Islamic law. The entire meal will be doused with tzatziki, a cucumber-based sauce.

The price, including chips and a drink, is $5 in cash and $6 with a credit card.

“It’s something new,” said Zubair, 29, who is Umar’s brother and helps run the stand.

Last year, Umar and Zubair started Zou Doggs selling just hot dogs. The stand was named after Zubair, who was nicknamed “Zu” in high school.

Weather permitting, the Mohmed brothers run the cart on campus and outside of Bengal’s on weekends. Zou Doggs also sells a hot dog, chips and a drink for $3 and a chicken kabob, chips and a drink for $5.

Umar said he bought his hot dog cart a year ago in Panama City, Fla., for $3,500. Fully assembled with an umbrella and pans, the cart cost $1,500 alone to ship to Columbia.

Originally from Surat, India, Umar said the streets swarmed with vendors selling food for people on the go. Umar and his brother sold sliced potatoes and gulab jamun, a dessert similar to dumplings, out of a homemade metal cart.

When he was 7, he and his family moved out of India. Fifteen years ago, they moved to Columbia for education and to be with family. Umar graduated from Hickman High School in 2006.

“When I was in high school, I always wanted to own a cart,” Umar said.

Today, Umar said he feels like he’s accomplished his dream.

Umar said he does not know how much money he’s made in the last year. He hopes to turn the business over to Zubair and go back to school to get a degree in business.

For the time being, Umar said he loves working the Zou Doggs cart and meeting people.

“At the end of the day, I just want to make the customer happy,” he said.

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