From the cozy confines of what was once an ambulance, Willie Jimmy Riddle works with all the precision of a medical professional — or at least that of one of the Indy area’s most passionate cooks.
These days, the erstwhile emergency vehicle’s runs don’t require flashing lights and blaring sirens, but it’s still all about getting quickly from Point A to Point B. Only now, the truck’s mission is rushing flavorful food to hungry customers.
The Statehouse Market is one stop along the way, and in only two seasons Riddle’s Chomp’Z, a rising star among Indy’s food truck scene, has endeared itself to State of Indiana employees frequenting Robert D. Orr Plaza on summertime Thursdays.
Willie Jimmy spends his time navigating a 7-foot by 4-foot space to prepare offerings from a diverse menu meant to “fill your belly.” The generous portion sizes certainly accomplish that, contrasting sharply with the small nook in which they’re prepared.
It may not exactly have space in spades, but the Chomp’Z menu is proof enough that there’s more than enough room to concoct a hearty menu sure to curb any “hangry” emergency.
Tacos, tenderloins and even bacon ranch cheese fries are part of a menu aimed at resuscitating even the hungriest “patient’s” taste buds. Just as dedicated is Willie Jimmy’s wife, Kerry, who takes customer orders and serves as the ever-smiling face of the operation.
Both truly seem to enjoy every minute of it.
The Riddles are the embodiment of an old adage: do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.
With amazing food that reflects the happy, pleasant personalities of its owners, it appears big things are in store for Chomp’Z. Read on to learn more about the business and the Riddles’ hopes for the future.
Q: The Chomp’Z menu includes tacos, tenderloins and other types of delicious “comfort food.” What are some customer favorites/recommendations?
A: People seem to enjoy a variety of things on our menu. Our biggest seller would be our mix and match tacos. We have about six to seven different tacos to choose from, and you can get any two tacos in an order or three or four… depending on how hungry you are! Customers seem to enjoy our portion sizes!
Q: Chomp’Z is relatively new to the Statehouse Market. What can customers expect from your food truck?
A: This is actually our second year at the Statehouse Market! We love coming to the Statehouse! Our new thing this year is our nachos, fruit empanadas, a few new tacos and bacon ranch cheese fries! You can still find our tenderloin and staple tacos on our menu! Come hungry!
Q: What do you like best about managing a mobile restaurant? What are some of the challenges involved?
A: This is the perfect “job” for us! Willie Jimmy loves to cook and Kerry is a people person! We enjoy talking to our customers and building relationships! I guess the challenge for us, since we do all of our own food prepping along with other duties, would be time. There are just never enough hours in a day sometimes, but we find the time and get it done! We LOVE what we do!
Q: Chomp’z is close to celebrating its second anniversary. What do you hope for the business in the future?
A: We want to grow, whether that means more trucks or a brick and mortar location one day. We haven’t quite figured that out. We are still trying to make a name for ourselves in the Indy food truck scene. We know it takes time and we are definitely enjoying the ride!
Q: Who are the primary personnel behind Chomp’Z? Is there a philosophy or motto that guides your business?
A: Husband and wife Willie Jimmy and Kerry are the owners. We have different family and friends who help us on the truck. Our philosophy is to feed our customers like we’d feed our family — good food and plenty of it!