Manorville resident Joseph Preli — a volunteer firefighter in his community — is among the latest Long Islanders to turn a pandemic downtime passion into a business.
Over the past two weeks, Preli has operated his new Turburritos Tex-Mex food truck at 2801 Montauk Hwy. in Brookhaven hamlet, serving up tacos, quesadillas and as the name suggests, jam-packed burritos.
“A couple of years ago, I got a smoker, and I was smoking all the meats, getting big into barbecue,” Preli, 37, said. “And then it became cold outside and I started cooking in the house. COVID hit, I wasn’t working, and I was just cooking all day long. I wanted to get a food truck, but I wanted to do a barbecue food truck.”
As several months passed, Preli switched gears from barbecue to Tex-Mex.
“I was taking anything and everything and making my own burritos,” he said. “I was always on YouTube watching people cook, and I started eating a California burrito when I would go out places, and I thought: I could make that.”
“And after you’re drinking, you come home, and you make this crazy freaking drunken burrito,” he added with a laugh. “It’s pretty fun.”
The turbo menu
The Turburritos menu is essentially beef, chicken, steak and shrimp served in burritos, bowls, tacos and quesadillas. Among the most popular offerings, Preli said, are the shrimp taco with a mango salsa; the Turburrito, a surf and turf offering of steak and shrimp with the works; fully loaded nachos; and chicken quesadillas.
Nearly every menu item comes topped with Preli’s signature house made sweet mayo, an orange sweet sauce that adds as much flavor as it does color.
Only weeks into his venture, Preli is still modifying his menu and constantly requesting feedback from customers. Once he has the truck’s deep fryer ready to roll, he plans to offer his diners the French fry-stuffed California burrito he enjoys.
While it has a set location in Brookhaven, customers should check the Turburritos’ Facebook or Instagram account for updates to daily hours and special locations. The truck is available for private events, and Preli said he is already booked for dates at the Moriches Field Brewery, the Jerry Jam music festival and various other events.
“I already have a ton of parties and events booked up. They were hitting me up way before I even opened the truck.”
In the near future, he hopes to host events of his own.
“This is my main hub that I’m going to be at,” Preli said. “I’m into cars, so I’d like to get into car shows and stuff like that. I was thinking since we have the big parking lot here, we do a Friday night car show here.”