An incredible story of a community helping us achieve our dreams after tragedy.
When we started La Chica Loca, we could have never imagined in our wildest dreams the story we are about to tell you. We thank you our customers for the tale and the opportunity to serve you.
Chef and I started La Chica Loca with 1200 dollars on July 1, 2018. We rented a kitchen, paid permits, bought food, and I hit the streets with a bag of breakfast burritos. We believed that there was a market for a delicious breakfast option that's easy to eat on the go, and holds well for delivery. We were missing the spice of Colorado style green chili, and the convenience of a burrito.
People were slow to trust a random girl with an apron and a bag of burritos, but usually one bite is all it took. Over time I developed connections with local businesses that allowed us to stop by once a week and sell burritos to the staff, creating our Burrito Routes. We took delivery orders for businesses and became a popular meeting caterer. We partnered with a local coffee shop, and started showing up at morning street events with a little table, umbrella, and turkey roaster.
People quickly coined me "The Burrito Lady" and watching the reactions as people received their burritos was magnificent. These were more than just breakfast, they were real food, created by a chef, cooked by his protégé, and delivered with a grateful smile. There is nothing I love more than feeding people. It’s an expression of joy, you get to share. I love being Jefferson City's burrito lady. It’s the best job I’ve ever had.
Just as our business was picking up steam, the building next to our shared kitchen on High Street in downtown Jefferson City collapsed. Because our building shared a wall, a week later the city evicted us after the engineering reports deemed our building to be unsafe.
We searched the town for optional shared kitchen space and ultimately rented a food truck (actually concession trailer, but that just doesn't sound as cool.) in October 2018. This allowed us to grow from delivery and pop ups only, to burritos on demand. We were able to expand our offerings to include gluten free and low carb bowls, as well as a full menu of our most popular burritos we'd made thus far.
We survived the winter, as making burritos from 2 am to 10 am in zero below weather 5 to 6 days a week is a special kind of loca.
By Spring we had a large and loyal customer base. Word of how delicious our burritos are, had traveled far. Our regular customers became our family, and I loved being the hostess to a culinary journey involving eggs, tortillas, and dreams.
Chef quit his all-consuming Executive Chef job, and started working as a cook for a local hospital. It allowed him more time to help with the business, and became the main creator of our ever changing Burrito of the Week. His creativity and culinary genius has built our business from a concept to a brand.
Our customer base continued to grow, and we became a staple in Downtown Jefferson City on the Historic East Side. In the Spring we purchased the food truck, and made exactly two payments when the tornado tore through Jeff City the evening of May 22, 2019. May 23rd proved to show a completely different reality for us and the entire community.
The path of devastation was unfathomable. Those first few days were a blur. So many homes and businesses lost. So many friends pulling together to feed, house, and care for those affected. It was the most terrible and the most beautiful time I've ever experienced. Our food truck was in her path, along with our commissary kitchen and most of our equipment and supplies.
Starting out with nothing isn't easy. It takes a lot of hustle, a lot of gumption, a lot of worry, wondering how you're going to pay all your invoices. With each expansion comes more costs. It's a gamble, every day, every decision. Having no runway means you have to fly 24/7 to avoid the crash.
So when the tornado hit, we lost everything. We used the money in our bank accounts to pay off an equipment loan and outstanding debts.
Many of our customers reached out to us and asked us how they could help. We were flooded with calls of support and concern. Even so, when we launched our Kickstarter to rebuild La Chica, we were overwhelmed with gratitude for the support our family, friends, and community provided. Our goal was $15,000 and by the end of our campaign 137 backers pledged $15,941!
The successful Kickstarter allowed us to purchase a truck and we have been working hard to get it ready for Vehicle and Health Department Inspections.
In late October we had an amazing opportunity to rent a turn key brick and mortar, and plan to open at 306 E. High St. January 2020
306 E. High St, Jefferson City, MO, 573-000-0000