Food Trucks

The Rustic Nomads Food Truck Is All About Burgers, Sandwiches and Community

Look out for the Rustic Nomads food truck.
Look out for the Rustic Nomads food truck. Chris Byard
"I've been in the service industry for about twenty years," says Nathan Wiersum, owner of the Rustic Nomads food truck. "I was a mechanic for eight years and then got a business degree at a local college. And when I took a step back after graduating and was like, 'Where do I need to be in life?,' everything pointed toward doing a food truck."

The name is a nod to another part of Wiersum's background. "I'm a military kid. That's part of why the nomads fits in there, because we moved all the time," he notes.

After purchasing a truck that he found in Indiana, he was ready to launch his new business. But the world had other plans. "I signed all the paperwork a week before COVID," Wiersum recalls. "I thought my dreams were gone before I even got them started. I lost my job because I was again in the service industry at the time. ... I can still remember that gut-wrenching feeling and looking over at my wife and trying to wonder how I was going to support my family," he adds, noting that he also has two kids.

Instead of panicking, though, Wiersum decided to shift his focus from profit to people and relationships. "I tried to get my foot in the door to a lot of the breweries I really wanted to be at, personal favorites where I just love the beer," he explains. "And we've slowly built our community from there."

As restrictions eased and outdoor seating became available, the relationships he established helped propel the business and created a path toward alleviating debt. "The only reason we're here is through hard work and sheer determination and a lot of love from the community," Wiersum notes.
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The Route 66 Burger, with street corn, Hatch green chiles, garlic aioli, lettuce and tomato (bacon optional).
Chris Byard
The focus on building community also led to a new friendship. In 2020, Alex Gardner ate at Rustic Nomads during its first service at Two22 Brewery in Aurora. "We went, and my wife and kids loved it, and we became consistent regulars. ... Every time he was at Two22 Brew, we would be there," Gardner recalls. Now he and Wiersum are close friends, and Gardner even helps out on the truck. "I'm not actually an employee," he says. "I'm just a regular that loves the product and helps out when needed."

As Rustic Nomads enters its third year of operation, Wiersum still considers the community to be the heart of his operation, and he cares deeply about making people happy. "It's part of my mission statement, making people happy through food. I don't know of a better way. ... Food touches a person's soul," he says.

The Rustic Nomads menu includes a variety of sandwiches and sides that will, indeed, replenish your soul. Wiersum suggests anything with his housemade pastrami, which sells out every week. His favorite is the Rustic Reubano, which is "like a Reuben and Cuban love child," he explains. "It's got my homemade pastrami and pulled pork, and is basically set up like a Cuban. We press the bread, it's got pickles, yellow mustard and Swiss," and comes with a side of house sauce, which is similar to Thousand Island dressing.  Other top picks are the Continental Divide burger and the Cajun Cordon Bleu chicken sandwich.
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Loaded Russets are piled with street corn, bacon and special sauce.
Chris Byard
Gardner, though, has his own go-to. "If I have to pick one item, it would be the Route 66 Burger, but I always go double and add bacon," he says. The Route 66 comes topped with Hatch green chiles and street corn. "I grew up in New Mexico, and the first time I had this burger, I told [Wiersum] that I immediately flashed back to being a kid and getting a green chile cheeseburger at the snack bar at the swimming pool," he says.

No matter which sandwich you order, though, Wiersum and Gardner both suggest snagging some Rustic Russets, or "potato nuggets from heaven," on the side.

"I've got some people who are trying to invest in opening a restaurant right now," Wiersum notes of his future plans. "We'll see how things play out...but I would really love to turn this into a brick-and-mortar." He envisions a farm-to-table concept where he can incorporate his own homegrown vegetables.

In the meantime, if you're hungry for a great sandwich and want to make a new friend, check out rusticnomads.us to find the truck's schedule.

"Ultimately, I really just want to be and make people happy with the food. That's what gets me up in the morning," Wiersum concludes. 
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Chris Byard, a transplant from Alabama, arrived in Colorado in 2010 years ago and never looked back.Having previously worked at the Kitchen and Tavernetta, he developed a love for Denver hospitality.Currently, he maintains ties with the community and shares his love for hospitality as a co-host of thepodcast Stoned Appetit.
Contact: Chris Byard

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