Columbia, MO: GRAND OPENING – ‘Fat Chicks Chow Wagon and Catering’

By Jacob Barker | Columbia Tribune

Owner: Lisa Nichols

Website: Fat Chicks Chow Wagon on Facebook, @Fatchickschow on Twitter

Nature of services offered: It’s a mobile food truck that, in addition to lunch, breakfast and snack stops, does catering, parties and other events.

Opened: March 1

Hours: They vary. Nichols runs her own routes, which change, and times are flexible. Fat Chicks uses social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, and Groupon to announce location, hours and coupons.

Costs: $1.50 to $5

Photo by August Kryger

Owner’s experience: Nichols has worked in the restaurant industry off and on since starting as a waitress when she was 13. Her mother cooked her entire life, and Nichols said she learned how to make most of her menu items while hanging out in the kitchen before dinner. Although she doesn’t have a culinary degree, she said she does “have an idea on what people want to eat.” The menu ranges from biscuits with gravy and chicken fried steak to fruit smoothies and Boca burgers. She does casseroles, wraps and salads, too.

Clientele: Anyone who is looking for some fast, affordable food at their convenience, Nichols said. Already, Nichols has “a pretty good after-bar following,” she said.

Origin of name: The name says it all, Nichols said.

Customer appeal: Fat Chicks offers “fresh, down-home, affordable food delivered to your workplace or event,” Nichols said. She wants to bring the big-city food truck concept to Columbia. She can cater for as many as 100 people, and food can be prepared in the truck’s “rolling kitchen.”

Why take the plunge now? Columbia is a diverse community that will acknowledge local businesses that present an edge, Nichols said. Also, many within the student population are accustomed to street food vendors. Gas prices are high, and people do not have enough time or money to go out to eat every day, Nichols said, so her wagon offers a good meal “that will fill you up, not empty your pocket.”