With Omar Gonzalez’s culinary chops and his wife Caylee’s front of the house, hospitality, and catering background, the odds and pancakes were stacked in their favor. “We knew that we wanted to do a food truck. We had been talking about, probably since we got together, that we wanted to open a food truck, but we didn’t have a concept,” said Caylee.
When the couple was expecting their first child, Amyr, Caylee’s biggest craving was for pancakes. Omar, who has been in the culinary industry for some 22 years isn’t a fan of traditional breakfast pancakes. He went to work in their kitchen putting his spin on them, fusing cultures and flavors to meet his wife’s cravings. “Every country has its own [version of] pancakes – from China, Japan – zucchini pancakes, potato pancakes. Central America has the arepa, pupusa, even the tortilla is a pancake,” he said.
You might say that Amyr kicked off their concept in utero. It’s only fitting that one of his first words was ‘pancake.’ “I didn’t grow up with my dad and family is the most important thing for me. And this,” he said motioning to the Not Your Mama’s Pancakes truck, “gives you the time to do it.” The Gonzalez’s enjoy the freedom of schedule and location their food truck affords them, even taking a week off every year for Amyr’s birthday. It took the couple two years to get their food truck off the ground, or on the road rather. Not Your Mama’s Pancakes celebrated two years in January.
From 14 to Food Truck Owner
“I was 14 when I started in restaurants, serving, cooking,” said Omar. “It’s what we call a Lechonera, like a mom and pop barbecue joint, but it’s Puerto Rican food.” He took a year off after high school to enjoy life before attending his local community college.
One of his teachers dined at the restaurant where Omar was working as the chef. Impressed with his culinary abilities, his teacher offered him a job at a fine dining restaurant, which he took. This teacher, he described as not only his professor and boss but friend and mentor. This fine-dining job landed him an opportunity to participate in a competition for Bacardi. His dish blended flavors from Italy with those from the Caribbean and he won first place in the food competition.
When he moved to Florida, he found himself creatively stifled by work at franchises. Omar met his wife at Planet Hollywood where he was a cook and Caylee a server. Yearning for something of their very own, the couple decided it was time to set out on their entrepreneurial endeavor.
The constant change of pace and freedom of a food truck attracted them. “All the events are different. It’s a different experience every single time, a different challenge,” said Omar. It doesn’t come with the same trappings of staffing and running a brick and mortar and he says the customer experience is different between the two. “You’re bringing the food to the people. [...] They’re happier when they come to a food truck. It’s an experience,” he said.
Like Your Mama’s Pancakes, But Different
They started with the chicken and pancake. Their version of chicken and waffles, this dish is made with a cheddar cheese infused pancake, fried chicken tenderloins battered in their pancake flour, dusted with powdered sugar and a drizzle of spicy honey. This is a delight so good, it’s the one they recommend as an introduction to NYMP.
Another staple is their chicken parmesan which started as a fork and knife dish, now a handheld pancake sandwich or “panwich.” To soothe your sweet tooth, Not Your Mama’s Pancakes have churros (a fan-favorite) and a Snickers pancake roll up. Their fresh spin on the breakfast food won them #4 on the list of a Central Florida Food Blogger for their pancake burger. “If I don’t eat it, I don’t sell it,” said Omar. “It’s about having pride in what you serve and the customer service.” In addition to their namesake, Not Your Mama’s Pancakes likes to switch it up with different comfort food offerings and flavors including burritos and tacos or “pacos.”
They adhere to this same innovative accommodation when it comes to catering which they’ve been doing for a little over a year now. “We’re different,” said Omar. “We try to accommodate the flavors and what they’re looking for with a twist.”
“We don’t have a set catering menu. We like to make sure that we personalize. […] If you’re having a wedding, we want it to be specialized to you and your taste,” Caylee added. This including small bite and brunch options like their enticing charcuterie board.
Let’s Make it Saucy
The Gonzalez’s have a new concept in mind. Let’s Make it Saucy will revolve around all things sauce out of their same NYMP food truck. “Everything is going to be served with a sauce on top of it or something where it’s with a dip or smothered in sauce,” said Caylee. She’s a sauce person at heart and Omar loves to get creative experimenting with them. Every dish will have a sauce in it, on it, or served alongside it from a burger with a melty cheesy sauce to wings smothered in sauce. “It’s going to be all types of cuisine from Spanish cuisine to Italian, Southern cuisine, everything,” said Omar.
Expect marinara and pesto, southern gravy, au jus, fruit sauces, chimichurri, and everything in between. They gave a nod to this new direction on their social media pages with the Mama’s Dipping Platter – fresh tortilla chips, signature chicken bites, beer-battered onion rings, sweet potato fries, house-seasoned crinkle fries, all served alongside 8 specialty dipping sauces of varying colors, flavors, and consistencies, and their apple slaw. The couple hopes to roll out their new concept, Let’s Make it Saucy this Fall.
Not Your Mama’s Pancakes
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