By Ifaz Abdul ‘18
Starting at 7 a.m. every day, students swarm the corner of Campus road and Bedford Avenue trying to get a spot on the line for a certain food cart. Mario’s and Maria’s Cart is a pit stop before students walk into school.
“I always go to Mario’s for a bacon, egg, and cheese before walking into school,” said Milo Jiang ‘18.
Mario and Maria Rojas, who run a small business on the corner of Campus road, started seven years ago. Ever since then it has been long hours working and few hours of sleep. Although Mario reports for his job at 7 a.m., he begins preparing food around 3 a.m. The process starts off with cutting tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and peppers. They prepare some of the food they serve at the cart prior to arriving at their spot. Maria explains they are “Only working”, sometimes past 7 p.m. which involves cleaning and packing up the cart to take home. The food cart is taken home every day attached to the back of Mario’s car.
The students from Midwood have been a big part of Mario’s business.
“No school, no business,” said Mario. He gives the high school credit for most of the success in his business. Despite having competition not too far away, students prefer Mario’s because it’s closer.
Mario serves foods from chicken over rice to bacon egg and cheese and even French fries. Due to recent price increase, some students have not been coming to Mario’s as much. The price of a box of French fries increased from $2 to $3 and a bacon egg and cheese is now $3.50, which was previously $2.50.
Mario said, “I am not the boss, I’m simply a worker.”
He does not control the prices, nor does he own the business. Mario works under a Greek man who owns the cart itself and the business. Despite price increases students still prefer Mario over other food carts in the area.
“As a busy high school student, I prefer not to walk an extra block for $1,” said Mahin Alam ‘18.
Mario and his wife, Maria, both work 13 long hours without any breaks. Mario uses gloves when he prepares food because there is not a sink where he can wash his hands easily. Maria and Mario work through freezing temperatures and heat waves. They have an umbrella barely covering them on the days that it rains. They both wear plastic rain ponchos to prevent themselves from getting wet. They don’t usually go to the bathroom unless it is really necessary; the Brooklyn College bathroom is readily accessible. Tired of working and restless nights, Mario wants to quit.