Denver Food Truck Jalapeño Business Serves Mexican Fare and Burgers | Westword

It's All About Mexican Fare and Burgers at Jalapeño Business

"I love to cook, man. It's my passion," says owner Rodrigo Ordaz, who is originally from Oaxaca.
Rodrigo Ordaz launched Jalapeño Business in 2020.
Rodrigo Ordaz launched Jalapeño Business in 2020. Chris Byard
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When Rodrigo Ordaz moved to Denver from Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2008 so his then-wife could attend college, he had no professional cooking experience, but he did dream of one day opening his own food business. Now he's the owner of a colorful four-year-old food truck named Jalapeño Business, which serves two of his favorite types of food: Mexican fare and burgers.

"I think I developed a passion for cooking from the things my family cooked really, really good," Ordaz says. "I have an aunt and she's an amazing cook. ... She makes a mole amarillo with black-eyed beans, shrimp and hierba santa [or hoja santa] — it's like a big leaf that has a flavor like mint. That is my favorite dish."

His first restaurant gigs were at Bull & Bush Brewery and Red Robin. "I started working in the restaurants to learn how the business works — how the kitchen works, because sometimes people who serve food have the passion but they don't have the experience in the restaurant business and they make too many mistakes. So it helped me a lot," Ordaz recalls.
click to enlarge a burger with pineapple
The Hawaiian Burger from Jalapeño Business with pineapples and teriyaki sauce.
Chris Byard
While working at Red Robin, he remembers telling his boss that he wanted to buy a food truck. "He says, 'Hey, buddy, when you have your food truck, I have the perfect name for you: Jalapeño Business.' And he explained it to me, because Mexicans and Chicanos don't catch the joke," Ordaz remembers. (What does a nosy pepper do? It gets jalapeño business!)

He did end up buying a food truck and using that name. Jalapeño Business hit the streets in 2020, and Ordaz drew inspiration from his childhood experiences and his experience working in restaurants to create the menu.

Options include loaded nachos, cheese fries, quesadillas, tacos and churros. "My favorite thing is the chicken tinga," he says. "I make all my food really good, but to me, it's the best because my daughter loves it. ... I got the recipe from a lady in Mexico. When I was in high school, there was a lady who sold tinga outside — I loved her tinga — and one day, I asked her how she made it. It's a little bit spicy and a little bit sweet. ... I visited Mexico two years ago, and I went to see her and told her about the tinga. She was so happy, and she shared her pastor recipe with me. Now I use two of her recipes."
click to enlarge nachos
Nachos topped with chicken tinga, lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream, pickled jalapeños and hot salsa.
Chris Byard
Along with Mexican fare, Ordaz serves a lineup of eight different burgers. "I love to cook burgers," he says. "I mean, I worked for Red Robin and Bull & Bush, and they have really, really good burgers, so I bring what I learned from there to this truck." His favorites are the Hawaiian burger topped with pineapples and teriyaki sauce and the jalapeño burger topped with morita chile aioli, cream cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and onion, and finished with a fried jalapeño on top. Other options include a Cubano burger and a barbecue pulled-pork burger.

"The hardest part is keeping the business, because sometimes you don't make money," Ordaz admits. "When it's slow, you still need to pay the people that work with us and need to pay for food, and it's a lot of bills. It never stops."

But even when business is tough, Ordaz is excited to be a food truck owner. "I love to cook, man. It's my passion," he concludes.

If you're hungry for a taste of Jalapeño Business, visit for its schedule. 
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