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Lucha Puerco started in early 2020 when I began bottling homemade hot sauce and selling to friends and family for a side hustle. Several months later COVID happened and I was thrust into the position of full-time Dad, staying home from work with my daughter. During this time, I also took on the challenge of refining my culinary skills, which until this had just been a hobby for the better part of a decade. The most people I had cooked for up until this point was my staff during my fourteen years in retail management. I began to take inspiration from people who were taking Mexican cuisine a step further while still staying true to its roots - Wes Avila of Guerilla Tacos, Gonzalo Guzman of Nopalito, Alex Stupak of Empellon and Rosio Sanchez formerly of Noma. I made tacos, sauces and other items with roots in Mexico for what feels like every meal for six months. From there, I started developing my own recipes and ideas based on a decade of cooking at home and the inspiration from these chefs.
In June of 2020 I had the bright idea of organizing our first pop-up serving smoked Al Pastor tacos on fresh tortillas with elote, frijoles charros and aguas frescas freeze pops. Every single item was made by us with no shortcuts, from the adobo to the tortillas to the crema on the elote. We ran service with my wife and I cooking and a friend running orders. We served over 120 tacos in three hours. Each order came with a sampling of every sauce we have to offer. We ran several more, with the last one causing a traffic jam on a main road in Ypsilanti from the line waiting for our tacos. Since then we have made over 5,000 tacos in six months, served 100 burritos in under an hour in negative degree weather, ran pop-ups in four different cities and helped our friend Chef Jordan Balduf of Side Biscuit transition from a driveway pop-up into a brick and mortar. To this day, I hand make every item that I possibly can - The sauces, torta bread, adobo, cheese - I try my best to do it all.
A lot of people ask us already, what's the next step? Where's the brick and mortar? Well. I've worked in retail management for the past fourteen years and I've spent the last eight months doing what I love to do - Hanging out with my family(my wife is the one taking your order at almost every single pop-up) and cooking food. The plan it to continue to build our our brand and be as transparent as possible with our processes, ingredients and ideas. Someday we will be cooking our food in our own space but until then we will keep hustling.
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