Career Shift | After graduating from Xavier, Ryan Krcmarich spent six years organizing political campaigns. “I’ve always been a people person,” he says. “Meeting all the people, listening to them, that was always my favorite part of campaigns.” The 90-hour, seven-day workweeks got old, though. While studying for his master’s in public affairs, he found his next calling: the mobile food business.
Meals on wheels | Krcmarich had read about the food truck scene of Los Angeles, and he wanted in. First, he needed a city with little competition. He picked Indianapolis. Then he needed a vehicle. He bought a cranky, 27-foot 1998 Chevy, an old Doritos truck with a kitchen in the back. After a few repairs, Tacos Without Borders was open for business. “It was an interesting first year,” he says. “I was learning everything on the fly. I’d never even worked in a restaurant before.”
Tacos with a twist | Tacos are Krcmarich’s fare, but not your standard hard shell. “I want people to step away from Taco Bell,” he says. “I want them to try ethnic foods through the comfort of a tortilla.” His menu includes a Thai Penang curry taco, a spicy peanut taco, an Indian butter chicken taco and more. “To my knowledge, I’m the only one who’s ever come up with an African taco,” he says. “And I have three different ones.” All come with slaw, scallions and Cotija cheese.
International inspiration | At Xavier, Krcmarich was known for his cooking. One time, a friend called Krcmarich in a panic. He’d invited a girl for dinner at his place. But he was a hopeless cook. So Krcmarich went over, cooked dinner and left before the girl arrived, letting his friend take the credit. Krcmarich found international influence at Xavier, too. On Sundays he would join a friend from New Delhi for meals with his family. He’d never eaten Indian food before, but he grew to love it. Now Krcmarich seeks inspiration from almost 400 international cookbooks. “I’m trying to accumulate one from every country.”
Rolling along | Krcmarich was the second food truck in Indianapolis when he started in 2010. By the next spring, there were 12. Now there are 40. That’s no sweat for Krcmarich, who gets most of his business at company lunches and private events. Food bloggers in Indianapolis call him “The Elusive One,” since his truck is so rarely in public. He did work this year’s Super Bowl, and was even invited to sell at an NFL Players Association event. But otherwise, Krcmarich is happy to whip up his ethnic tacos alone, in the back of his truck. “I really enjoy cooking. You get in there, pop in your mp3 player and do what you’ve got to do.” Krcmarich loves the freedom his wheels bring. “I don’t ever want to work for anyone ever again. I just enjoy cooking, talking to people and being my own boss.”