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The Samaniego family started their food truck “Don Choche” from scratch, building up the truck over the course of two years by installing the stoves, furnace, as well as building the connections with local food purveyors. 

Jorge Samaniego, the father of the business, has been the backbone to Don Choche’s success and is supported by his wife Nancy and daughter Cristina.

“Don Choche was my second food truck after my first one got too small,” Jorge said. “Little by little it came together, building up the money and waiting for the customers.”

Jorge comes from a family who puts strong emphasis on their cooking — his father owned a chicharronera in Mexico, as well as his wife Nancy who comes from a family of cooks. With both of their kids being involved in the business, Jorge and Nancy said they hope their children can use this business to benefit them in the future.

“We have been through alot, when we were on Broadway Street we would sometimes sell only one taco the whole day, and we were at that location for four years,” Jorge says, “It wasn’t until the owner of Marble Brewery, Ted Rice invited us to move over there. That really gave us the opportunity because he believed in us.”

Jorge and the Samaniego family show pride in their work — they said one of the most important aspects of the job is making sure the truck is clean. The process they go through to make sure they have a clean work space is staggering. 

Going through every little spot, disinfecting everything from top to bottom. On Mondays they take out multiple parts out of the truck and use a pressure washer to make sure it’s clean.

“That's my main thing, separate from the food its nothing crazy or elegant it's just homemade cooking that's about it,” Jorge said. “After that though, it's the cleaning.”

The Samaniego family will be opening a restaurant this year that will emulate the same idea as the Don Choche food truck. Jorge plans on running it the same way, by making daily runs to the food markets, driving to Hatch, New Mexico for green chile and cooking with the same methods, but plans to add a bit more diversity to the menu.

“We are going to bring in hard shell taco(s), enchiladas and getting a beer and wine license for the restaurant,” Jorge said. “We want the customers to be able to drink a beer that pairs well with the tacos.”

After being an established food proprietor in the Albuquerque community, the Samaniego family realized building a business takes time and patience. Going on 12 years, they said they are constantly thinking about their next move but the restaurant seems to be the step that they will be working on for the next few years.

“It is taking us awhile to actually decide if we want to expand. I see a lot of other food trucks expand too quickly,” Jorge said. “It made us afraid to take that next step but we finally did it, I hope we can expand in the near future.”

Cade Guerrero is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted by email at culture@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @CadeGuerrero.