Monday, December 23, 2019
  Community, Alumni

By Amanda Alaniz

WESLACO, TEXAS – “Qweenie hot dogs are savage - not average.”

The catchphrase covers the top of a bright pink-and-black colored food truck, covered with crowns and alien-like characters journeying to “the unknown” with Qweenie. And the hot dogs being cooked inside the truck are anything but “average.”

Kimberly Avila, a UTRGV alumna and Weslaco native, is the proud co-owner of that outrageous hot dog food truck, Qweenie RGV.

UTRGV Alumna Kimberly Avila
Kimberly Avila, a UTRGV alum, is the proud co-owner of the popular food truck Qweenie RGV. Each hot dog has a unique culinary cultural spin. Avila and her fiancé, Bryan Nunn, opened the business in 2018, influenced by their stay in Los Angeles, California, where food trucks are everywhere. Avila said she hopes to continue to grow her business in the Rio Grande Valley, throughout Texas and beyond. (UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy)

She and her fiancé, Bryan Nunn, opened the food truck in 2018, the year Avila graduated from UTRGV with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in criminal justice.

Grilled onions, macaroni and cheese, bistek, crushed Hot Cheetos, grilled cheese and French fries are a few of the ingredients a hungry individual can find atop one of Qweenie’s hot dogs. Avila, who wanted to make her hot dogs unlike any others, said she wanted to bring in some flavors she knew growing up.

“We didn’t want to be in the snack realm. We wanted it to be more of a fusion style, kind of upscale street food,” she said. “With our Hot Cheetos and cheese dog, we don’t use nacho cheese, we use real quality cheese. And we grill the dog.”

The idea of owning a unique food truck was influenced by the couple’s stay in Los Angeles, California, after seeing the proliferation of food stands and carts.

One image stuck with Avila after a late night in LA – a woman making Mexican-style hot dogs at 3 a.m., while dozens of people waited in line for one.

“Over there in LA, street food is super popular. You see food trucks on every corner. You even see food carts. And people just making food, hustling, doing their thing,” she said. “One day I was like, ‘What if we do something like that, but get crazy with it?’ Have an actual menu, add some of our favorite toppings. I love Hot Cheetos and cheese; I think it’s a Valley staple.”

Avila had tried to open a food truck back in 2016, but things didn’t line up and she faced some obstacles. She wanted everything to be perfect when it launched, and told herself the time wasn’t right back then, but she would learn as she started to grow the business.

Queenie food truck
Kimberly Avila, UTRGV alumna and co-owner of the popular food truck Qweenie RGV, serves up customers in Edinburg.

The popularity of Qweenie happened overnight, thanks to social media buzz. Avila said she has heard people talking about a food truck “they found on Instagram.” A mixture of nervousness, excitement and pride runs over her as she talks about Qweenie.

“The first day after a video on us went viral, our wait line was about three hours long. I wanted to cry, not only from being overwhelmed, but I didn’t know how to deal with it,” she said.

“I wanted to go so much faster. I wanted to speed up the process because I would get anxious seeing people in line. And when you’re hungry, you’re hungry. But everyone was really patient,” she recalled.

With some success under their belts, Avila and her fiancé are grateful for all the positive feedback and their loyal customers. They consider themselves lucky to have created something people really love. 

Avila believes her brand will grow even more once she has more food trucks around the Valley. She even has plans to expand beyond Texas.

“I have friends that still live in California. I have friends in New York. And a lot of them say, even in such a huge populated area, there’s nothing like this. That makes me feel a lot more comfortable and excited,” she said. “I trust my brand; I know it can go higher.”

Her advice to future entrepreneurs wanting to have their startup is “just do it.” She eventually learned she had to accept that some things may not be perfect, but you’ll learn as you go.

“If you have an idea or if you wish something existed and it doesn’t, push for it. It’s going to be hard; every day has a new obstacle we have to overcome. Your perseverance has to be stronger than the difficulties that come your way,” she said. “You have to overcome the obstacles, and you will if you just try.”

Hot dogs
Each hot dog the Qweenie RGV food truck creates has a unique culinary cultural spin. The most popular hot dogs with customers are the Mac Dog and Pizza Dog.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.