Nom Eats was the perennial winner of the “best food truck” category in the RN&R’s annual Best of Northern Nevada readers’ poll. On June 10, the truck caught fire, causing extensive damage. Within hours, a GoFundMe had been established and community support started pouring in. Ian McIntosh co-owns the business with Carly Gurinskas and Robyn Gurinskas, the truck’s innovative chef. For more information, or to donate, visit www.gofundme.com/nom-eats-a-little-too-hot-in-the-kitchen.
Do you have any idea how the fire started?
The fire investigator—we walked around the truck. Everything is pretty melted, but he asked, “What’s this? What’s that?” … Based on where the majority of the damage was, and where he said it started, there were a couple of dirty rags. They weren’t like—they were oily rags, but they weren’t like out-of-this-world oily. They’re what we use to clean up the sauce and stuff like that. But, also, where the oil dispenses for cooking, it drips a little, so we use them to wipe that up. So there was a pile of five or so—not a ton—they were on top of a five-gallon jug of vegetable oil, and with how hot it was, and it was sealed up, with the direct light, maybe through the windows, or maybe just based on pure heat alone, they spontaneously combusted. And then the jug of oil went with it. And then everything else went with it.
The community response you’ve gotten has been pretty phenomenal.
Yeah. Tons of people have been donating—businesses, too, not just individuals. Lots of our patrons. Other people have been raising funds. Feed the Camel, they’ve been raising funds. Steve Schroeder at Food Truck Friday has been super helpful. Lots of people have reached out and said, “Hey, we’ve got a spare truck” or “My truck is for sale” or “I’ve got a food trailer I’m not using” our “Use or prep kitchen.” All that kind of stuff. There are a lot of new options and opportunities that weren’t there before.
What are you thinking? What’s the plan?
I don’t know. I still haven’t got anything from insurance yet. … It’s just a super slow process. So I don’t want to jump the gun until I know what’s covered. We haven’t really cleaned or anything, because I’m sure they’re gonna send somebody out, and I don’t want it sparking and glistening. … It’s mainly Robyn [Gurinskas]’s baby, our head chef. Whatever the next step is, whatever the next call is, it’s more in her court, which is pretty overwhelming. None of us is ready to make a decision yet. We need to get the whiteboard out and weigh all of the options—the rewards versus the risks.
Sometimes the next step is to a do a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Is that option on the table?
It’s definitely on the table. Especially since this is our fifth year of operations with the truck. And we didn’t have a ton of savings, and now we do, thanks to the GoFundMe and the community, so it definitely gives us more opportunity than we had. So, now we’re looking, what would this restaurant really cost? Because we’re still on a limited budget no matter what. No angel investor popped out of the back and said, "Hey, that sucks, here’s a million dollars."