Christen Moore is living out a dream.
The founder of Nacho Mama’s Food Truck has long-since found her niche in the tough, ultra-competitive mobile restaurant scene, and after more than half a decade as one of Indy’s premiere food trucks, Moore is as excited about her business as she ever was.
Decorated in a Day of the Dead-inspired skull motif, it’s clear just on appearances that Nacho Mama’s is “nacho” ordinary food truck. But it’s the ingredients and the care involved in Moore’s preparation that keep customers returning each season.
Both have been key to Moore’s success, which has gained her a large following no matter individual’s dietary guidelines.
It’s rare that a vegetarian restaurant finds broad appeal among nearly all tastes, but Nacho Mama’s has done just that. And with her food truck remaining a popular destination for Circle City residents, Moore is happy to continue delivering a unique — and delicious — menu nearly everyone will enjoy.
Q: One of your dreams was to own your own restaurant/food truck. How did your extensive culinary background prepare you for the highly-competitive food truck business? What advice would you give others with similar dreams?
A: Being in the food industry for the last 25 years definitely helped me in many ways such as food cost, time management, multi-tasking and menu development. As well, cooking on a train for two seasons in Alaska helped prepare me for working in a tight, confined space.
Even though knowledge of the industry is extremely helpful, just running a business presents its own set of challenges. So, while I encourage everyone to follow their dreams, my advice to anyone wanting to open their own food truck is to do your research, talk to as many people as you can, make sure you have lots of support, and know that you are going to have to sacrifice to get ahead and be successful — which doesn’t mean you are going to make a lot of money. It has to be something you are passionate about or truly love to do.
Q: Nacho Mama’s menu items are prepared using only vegetarian ingredients, but you have found success serving to vegetarians as well as those without any diet restrictions. What do you believe is the key element in Nacho Mama’s wide appeal?
A: First and foremost, you have to have good food to keep people coming back. It works in my favor that nachos are a kind of crossover food that can be good either with meat, or without (similar to pizza), because there are so many versatile toppings that can apply. So, even though I only use vegetarian ingredients, the combinations are hearty enough and full of [enough] flavor to keep even the most die-hard carnivores satisfied.
Q: What is your personal favorite item from your own menu?
A: I would say my favorite menu item is the Holy Guacamole Nachos — not only because it’s my most popular nacho, but also because it has all my signature ingredients: Spanish rice, queso, salsa, guacamole and chipotle sour cream.
Q: What do you like most about the Statehouse Market?
A: First, let me say that what I appreciate most about Statehouse Market is that it supports Indiana agriculture, local farms, local food producers and local food vendors. We rely on that support to thrive and be successful. But what I love most about Statehouse Market are the state employees and the love and support I receive each and every week that I’m there. It validates why I continue to do what I’m doing and keeps my spirit motivated to keep truckin’. Thank you, Statehouse Market, for six years of love!
Q: With six successful years “on the road,” what is your hope for the future of Nacho Mama’s Food Truck?
A: I hope to continue with Nacho Mama’s Food Truck for at least a few more years, possibly building a food trailer in the next year for more flexibility. And while I don’t plan on opening a ‘brick and mortar’ anytime soon, I’m not ruling out the possibility of a pop-up restaurant over the winter months.
Being a free spirit and a creative soul, I try to keep my mind open to the possibilities.