Muchachos was the newest focus of ESPN's "Taste of the Town," a weekly feature hosted by Todd Blackledge that highlights local restaurants in college towns.
Owner Nick Maestas spoke with Blackledge about his restaurant's journey, from starting out with a food truck to now owning a brick-and-mortar location in the heart of downtown Lincoln. The short clip that showed off Muchachos' Pipeline Burrito, which was added to the menu this year in conjunction with Nebraska's offensive linemen, was shown during Saturday night's ABC broadcast of the Nebraska-Michigan football game.
Last week, Blackledge tweeted that he was looking for a Lincoln restaurant to feature in the segment, and received several replies suggesting Muchachos. Maestas, a lifelong Husker fan, said he was excited and grateful for the opportunity.
“Even if we hadn’t been selected, it’s so great for local businesses to be highlighted nationally,” he said. “We’re all busting our butts every day to feed our families, to make sure our staff is taken care of.”
Maestas hit a slump a few years ago following the death of his grandfather, who he was very close to, until he discovered how recreating his grandfather’s recipes helped him remain connected.
“I don’t know if it was the process of getting my hands in the tortilla dough, or frying the beef, but it brought me closer to him,” Maestas said. “The more I kept doing it the more I realized ‘Man, he’s with me in this moment.'"
So he started the food truck in 2017, and Muchachos has continued to grow in popularity since. The menu features a fusion of New Mexican cuisine and Maestas' love of barbecue, and just more than a year ago he was able to establish the restaurant at 416 S. 11th St. Maestas now has about 15 people on his staff.
“Knowing that many people rely on me for money and their livelihoods, that's the scariest part,” Maestas said. “I don’t take any tips when I work ... it’s important for me that they get all that money.”
Maestas said he's grateful for the exposure "Taste of the Town" provided, and enjoyed the experience of working with Blackledge and ESPN.
“It’s such a big deal for local restaurants, it’s such a big deal for places like mine,” Maestas said. “Having Todd and the ESPN crew here, they were all amazing.”
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