Muchachos Food Truck Opens a Brick-and-Mortar on 11th Street
Muchachos Owner Nick Maestas started selling barbecue tacos made with New Mexico-style hatch chile out of a bright blue food truck in 2017. His three-year plan was to open a brick and mortar location, and people told him it was a pipe dream. In late August, Muchachos opened its doors on 11th Street in downtown Lincoln (and you can’t miss the bright blue paint job).
In the building formerly occupied by Method Cycles & Craft House, Muchachos comes into the Lincoln restaurant scene with a fully stocked bar and a menu selection of pork, chicken, and brisket tacos, loaded nachos, hatch mac and cheese, and traditional barbecue meat platters.
Muchachos has also partnered with Meta Coffee Lab, who are roasting their coffee beans in house. To accommodate the morning coffee crowd, Muchachos has a special selection of breakfast tacos for early birds.
Muchachos’ began as a way for Maestas to stay connected to his grandparents who raised him in Las Vegas, New Mexico—a small town where hatch chile went on just about anything.
“I remember sitting in their kitchen vividly, and seeing all the things that they would do,” Maestas said. “My grandma would make tortillas like an octopus, no pain in her fingers—picking things up straight off the pan. It was amazing. She was a surgeon in the kitchen.”
Maestas’ grandma passed when he was 13. Nine years ago, he lost his grandfather, too.
“My grandfather was the closest thing I had to a father figure,” he said. “When he passed away, I just went into this dark, cloudy, awful place—drinking, among other things. I kind of got to the point where I was like, ‘okay, they’d kill me if they saw me living this way, and they wouldn’t be happy.’”
Maestas started searching for a way to connect to his grandparents and honor their memory. So he started cooking the food they used to make. Maestas started serving his grandparents’ menu to friends, and soon was putting his own spin on the dishes, incorporating New Mexican hatch chile and green chile salsa into pork tacos and barbecue. One Saturday afternoon, he sold 200 pulled pork tacos out of his garage.
“I was like, okay, I think we found it,” Maestas said.
It seemed like a sign when a food truck for sale in Saint Louis was the same shade of blue as his grandparent’s old house in New Mexico.
Since then, Muchachos’ food truck has had a huge success in Nebraska, and the brick and mortar won’t be slowing it down. Now with a full kitchen at their disposal, Maestas is excited to kick things up a notch with food truck events and weddings.
“We want to be more than a taco shop and a coffee shop,” he said. “We want to be a place for the community where we welcome everyone in but we also do our part to uplift our community, going into neighborhoods, and feeding people who need meals.”