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A Food Truck Feast

The country’s biggest culinary trend, food trucks, has rolled into Columbia. Three trucks, with trained staffs, commissary kitchens and business licenses, are redefining the on-the-go lunch in parking lots across Columbia. Line up for a taste.

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Pepe’s Food Truck

Pepe Perez felt something was missing in Columbia. Although he liked his work as a manager at El Maguey, he was hungry for a job where he could develop his own menu and feature the authentic Mexican meals he loved. Inspired by his childhood in Mexico City and subsequent move to Sacramento, Calif., he decided his new home in mid-Missouri needed a food truck.

Armed with his previous experience at El Maguey and a knack for developing his own recipes, Perez and his wife, Katy, set out to make the wheels turn. And turn they did.

 “It took off a lot faster than we anticipated,” Katy says.

Pepe’s Food Truck suffered a few minor setbacks before Columbians caught on to the treasure. On opening day last May, Perez parked on Fourth Street and put change in the meter; he did not anticipate a call from the city the next morning informing him street-side parking of the food truck was illegal.

After learning the mobile food guidelines set by the city and overcoming a noisy generator problem, the food truck Perez had only imagined a few months earlier was now real, gathering loyal crowds in increasing numbers.

“Pepe’s does what every restaurant in town should do: use fresh ingredients, prepare dishes from scratch and serve them with a smile,” says loyal customer Jessi Whitney Hall. “A great price doesn’t hurt, either.”

Nothing on the menu costs more than $10, including the popular shredded beef burrito and adobada (marinated pork) quesadillas. For a snack, try a $2 tamale, which comes with red or green sauce or poblano peppers.

Pepe’s operates a weekday lunch shift, as well as a dinner shift on Thursday evenings, and an occasional lunch shift on Saturdays. The Perezes also have plans for additional late-night openings as students return to Columbia.

Down the road, Pepe’s could become a small restaurant, Katy Perez says. For now, though, the couple is enjoying the success of their new business venture and the chance to bring a piece of Pepe’s home to Columbia.

Owners: Pepe and Katy Perez
On the road since May 2012
Facebook: PepesofColumbia
Twitter: @PepesofColumbia
Phone: 573-268-4503
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday; 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday
Most often found at: Tropical Liqueurs on South Providence Road
Most popular menu item: Shredded beef burrito

Credit Cards: Yes

Facebook Feedback
“Yum Yum Yum! Just polished off two chicken tacos and some delicious salsa and chips! Thanks, Pepe and Katy, for a deliciously wonderful lunch!!” — Amy Rebecca Messner

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