Kebab Casual: You crave it, they carve it

It’s easy to understand why the spicy lamb gyro is the bestselling menu item at Kebab Casual.

Boasting impressively sized hunks of savory braised lamb with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, tzatziki sauce and pickled onion surrounded by house-made organic flatbread, the taste can’t be beat. The lamb is melt-in-your-mouth tender, the chopped produce retains a lively crunch, and homemade Greek yogurt sauce gives the meal a decidedly Mediterranean flavor.

That’s not a mistake. When Kebab Casual owner Karl Shilhanek opened the red food truck more than two years ago in the parking lot of a 76 gas station at 2604 Meridian St., it was with an intention to serve healthy, affordable food for a variety of palates and preferences. Fresh-grilled Mediterranean bowls and wraps fit the bill, as did soups and salads, falafel offerings and “bar fare”—including shoestring Za’atar fries, loaded shawarma and gyro fries, pita chips and dips, and assorted sides.

“This is food you can eat every day and feel good about,” Shilhanek says. “Plus, it won’t break the bank.”

He’s hoping that ethos will also transfer to his latest culinary venture, Carve Casual, which opened early this week at Kulshan Brewery’s K2 locale on Kentucky Street. The new mobile restaurant in the Roosevelt neighborhood will benefit from the time Shilhanek spent working in the test kitchen of the Wood Stone Corporation, which is where he sourced the specialty equipment that will turn Carve Casual into Bellingham’s only rotisserie chicken food truck.

“I’m excited to offer more variety and spices,” he says of the new menu items, pointing out that in addition to meat-based offerings including ribs, pork, ham, salmon, poultry and occasionally rabbit, the plan is also to make the veggie-focused dishes shine—just like they do at Kebab Casual.

With a tagline of “you crave it, we carve it,” the on-site eatery will also be serving paninis with house-roasted meat, homemade soups and salads and two kinds of poutine (chicken and, for vegetarians, gluten-free mushroom). Pair your meal with a cold Kulshan brew, and you’ll be set.

“It’s the perfect blend of great beer and really good and consistent food truck food,” Shilhanek says, noting that his friendships and prior business dealings with Kulshan helped cement the deal. “It’s a unique partnership.”

Collaborations with Kulshan and rotating specials are on the horizon, as are events when pandemic restrictions are lifted. Meanwhile, diners will be able to sample the rotisserie roundup from 11am-8pm daily at K2—where the food truck will be parked for the long haul.

And just like at Kebab Casual, customers will also be able to order fare from Carve Casual via phone, text or for delivery through Viking Food and Grubhub. If they’re feeling adventurous, they can order from both places and mix and match their “casual” selections.

“We don’t take ourselves too seriously,” Shilhanek says of the food truck monikers. “We try to do a few things really well and focus on having something for just about everyone.”

WHAT: Kebab Casual and Carve Casual
WHEN: 11am-8pm daily
WHERE: 2605 Meridian St., 1538 Kentucky St.

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