Organ Mountain Outfitters Food Truck Fridays – Luchador Food Truck Interview
OMO- “What is your name and what do you do?”
LUCHADOR- “My name is Ivan Saenz, I am the owner of Luchador Food Truck. My wife is actually the owner, but she lets me work here.”
O- “Tell us about your product and your business.”
L- “Well, I graduated from NMSU with a restaurant and tourism degree. There’s not a whole lot of options here in Las Cruces so in 2013 we decided to make our own jobs, so we started the food truck. Ya know, we go to Mexico a lot so we were inspired by all the Mexican street food, you know, some of the best meals we’ve ever had. Ya know, fish tacos by the sea, asada tacos on a little street corner somewhere. So, we decided we wanted to do something like that and that’s where we went.”
O- “What is the one thing that really defines you or separates you from other food trucks and restaurants?”
L- “Ya know, we try to do things a little different all the time… We’re always trying to push the envelope. We’ve done just things like on our regular menu and we’ve done four-course meals, five-course meals out of our trucks. We’re trying to bring in, ya know, it’s like the whole experience, really. We want [people] to feel [a certain way]. So, when we put out a product or put out anything, we want people to have the whole experience. So, the Luchador theme, ya know, like, everything on out menu has a luchador name… everything is wrestling themed.
O- “Do you think you will stay with the food truck in the long run, or what do you think the future holds?”
L- “The food truck scene in Las Cruces is definitely growing. You know, there’s a lot of other food trucks that have come into the scene, and all of us together, I’ve said it before, I don’t see other food trucks as competition, I see them more as collaborators. Ya know, getting the word out to all the people about food trucks and the options that they have. Weddings, office parties, house parties, we do a lot of stuff. We can do a lot of cool things… It’s definitely growing, we like what we’re doing, we wake up and do the best we can and people seem to enjoy it.
O- “What’s the most rewarding aspect for your business and what you do? When you’re driving your food truck away at the end of the day, what makes you come back?”
L- “Just how people react to us. A lot of people take pictures of our trucks, we have kind of uncanny-looking trucks. This is the third one we’ve had, the first one was a ’63 Ford Red Wagon and we converted that to a food truck, then we had a 1951 Ford Red Wagon, we converted that to a truck, and this a 1972 Winnebago. So, we always kinda try to reinvent ourselves, just to keep being true and to keep people excited. And, when we see our regulars come back week after week it’s very rewarding.”
L-“Since we started Luchador Food Truck, when we first started, we kind of were thinking the same way [as OMO], ya know, how we can give back to our community. So, we do a thing we call Lucha-For-Hope where we partner up with Casa Peradinos and Tent City and we serve the homeless for free out of our food truck once a month. We’ve done things, ya know, nice, like fettuccine alfredo with garlic bread, marinated pork chops with garlic mash potatoes, we’ve done smoked brisket plates. So we try to do things that are really cool and kinda wanted to get the word out too so people can help us. We’d like to do it more than once a month, so if they contact Casa De Peregrinos or myself, and they want to be involved in something like that, it’s great. Some of our regular customers… We did a wedding one time and I told the groom about Lucha-For-Hope and he’s like, let me know, I want to go volunteer, so he came one of the days and he helped us serve the homeless. That has actually been one of the [proudest] things that we’ve done, just because of the reaction from some of the homeless, ya know, they are very, very grateful. And we try to do meals that maybe they haven’t had in a long time, ya know. And it shows, ya know, they’ll come back and tell us ‘that was amazing’ or ‘this is great what you are doing’. So, in the same realm of giving back to the community, I wanted to share that with Organ Mountain Outfitters…We’ll probably be scheduling one within the next two or three weeks for [May].
“We did a triple decker smoked cheese sandwich, so we did, like, smoked gouda, cheddar, provolone on Texas toast. And then it was like a Big-Mac, ya know, bread, cheese, bread, cheese, so it was like a huge sandwich. And then we did a creamy tomato basil soup, ‘cause it was winter time and it was really cold out, and we wanted to do something warm, to really warm them up. So they came over, we served the homeless, usually it’s between 50 and 75 or 80 people that usually come to our line. But, this one gentleman, he came back, ya know, older gentleman… It was very emotional. Ya know, his face was kind of dirty, you could tell he had been crying because he had clean little tear streaks. And he told us, ‘you know what man, that was my favorite food growing up, my mom used to make me the exact same thing. Grilled cheese and tomato basil… I haven’t had that in I can’t tell you how long and I just want to tell you I really, really appreciate. It was delicious…” And, ya know, I mean, that just melts your heart. We were just like, come on let me give you some more, take some with you, please, ya know what I mean. So, like I said they are very responsive to that kind of stuff. Ya know, when you can give them something that they appreciate that much, ya know, it’s like, why couldn’t we budget that… We’ve been doing that since we first opened, its gonna be four years this year since we opened.”
(talking now about a burger grill off)
“We’ve actually entered two burger grill-offs against some of the other food trucks here downtown and both times we’ve won first place… We won first place with the Rock, which is like a Hawaiian burger, it’s got pineapple, ham, and burger [patty]. And then the other one we won with was, we call it the Bam-Bam Bigelow Brisket Burger, so it’s a burger with brisket and Chipotle mayonnaise, and it’s really good. So, both times we entered, both times we’ve won first place, so, we just kinda wanted to rub it into the other trucks’ face (jokingly) every time I get, its pretty funny. But, ya know, they all do great stuff, so for me to win those awards it means a lot to us because we are going against such great other trucks.”
Interview by Kobi Shillings - Instagram @kobiwayne