On Sept. 25 Main Campus welcomed Wingo Taco, the latest lunch truck to open its window to the Temple community.
Students lined up at the highly anticipated truck, to sample the food truck which boasts a menu of tacos, burritos and burrito bowls with a Korean flair, either in the type of garnish or protein the customer chooses.
“I would walk by and was really curious as to when it was going to open,” said Rattanak Yin, a junior architecture major. “I walked by it [Tuesday, Sept. 25] and thought I had to [try] it.”
Owner Nam Kim worked the kitchen for the truck’s opening week with his longtime friend Jeff Kennedy, while Kim’s wife, Claire Kim, worked the cash register.
Nam Kim, 37, was born in Korea and has lived in Philadelphia for more than 20 years. He has seen the trend of Korean-fusion food grow.
“[A long time ago] I heard about a bulgogi taco truck that opened up in Los Angeles,” Nam said. “They were becoming very popular at that time and I thought, ‘Hey, that would be great in Philadelphia.’”
In the first week since opening Nam Kim has already deemed burritos his most popular item. With a surge in popularity, however, comes growing pains as Nam Kimhad to work under pressure when he didn’t prepare enough food for the day.
“We’re just now getting used to what the peak of the day is and how many portions to prepare,” Nam Kim said.
Before opening Wingo Taco Nam, Kim, a self-proclaimed jack-of-all-trades, worked as a video game salesman and comic book artist.
Nam Kim used his art background to design the elaborate illustrations on the side of the truck, along with help from a friend and Claire Kim.
“I wanted something catchy, flashy, and something just fun. We’re a food truck,” Nam Kim said. “We’re not a restaurant, we don’t have to be proper about what we’re putting up. Even the name, Wingo Taco, my wife’s sister came up with it and it’s one of those things I fought in the beginning. [I thought it was] a silly name, but it’s so catchy. If you say it three times to someone it sticks.”
Clair Kim is along for the ride until she continues her education in Fall 2013. She can be seen greeting her customers with a smile as she rings up their order.
“I like that I can smile [at customers] and make their time here better,” Claire Kim said.
In preparation for the opening Nam Kim made constant changes to the menu, and plans to continue making changes depending on student reactions.
“Initially I was just going to have people order either a burrito or taco and then we would just make it for them,” Nam Kim said. “Nowadays people’s taste buds are so diverse, everybody wants choices. I thought I’d give people the option of having it their way or our way.”
Wingo Taco is parked on the corner of 13 and Norris streets, on a very competitive block of food trucks including The Creperie, Yumtown and the Burger and Grilled Cheese Busz. Despite the competition, Nam Kim embraces it.
“Temple’s a big place, and one great thing about having these food trucks is Temple accepts them. There are a lot of colleges that shun [food trucks] away,” Nam Kim said.
Nam Kim married his wife in June, after a year and a half of being together. The pair met at Antioch, a Korean Presbyterian church they both attended in Conshohocken.
Nam Kim and Claire Kim credit their faith with the success the truck had in the first week.
“We’re Christian so we pray a lot,” Nam Kim said. “We’ve been praying about the truck, about the food and how we’ll be received. And it’s all turned out good.”
Upon completing the first week of business, Nam Kim said he was most looking forward to getting sleep after being awake for 36 hours straight, working on his truck.
“We’re not looking to make [a huge profit] we just want to share our food and make a living off of this,” Nam Kim said.
Luis Fernando Rodriguez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.