A Publication of WTVP

While food trucks have seen a boost in popularity across the country in recent years, they have been slow to make their way across the Midwest. One area proprietor, however, is excited to bring the food truck revolution to central Illinois.

Nacho Mama’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese began operating in July 2013 in the Bloomington-Normal area. In March, owners Karen Harris and Heather Atkinson moved the business to Tazewell County—both to expand and to be closer to home. Their idea of serving gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches comes from a shared love for various cheeses, as well as the unique items that pair well with them.

“Most grilled cheeses are standard American cheese and white bread,” Harris notes. “We wanted to show that grilled cheeses can be very diverse. We do not carry American cheese—hence the name Nacho Mama’s Grilled Cheese.”

The business serves mostly local, premium cheeses, along with fresh, locally grown vegetables whenever they are available. It rotates through about 60 varieties of gourmet grilled cheeses and serves other items as well, from quesadillas and nachos to a traditional Maine lobster roll, tomato soup and even a dessert grilled sandwich: The Sugar Buzz, which is Nutella and marshmallow grilled with your choice of bananas or Reese’s peanut butter cups.

“We wanted something unique to the Midwest,” Harris continues. “[Thinking] about food trucks has changed quite drastically in the few years. It’s not so much about handing a taco out the window—but homemade, made-to-order food, as well as supporting local businesses and buying local.”

Nacho Mama’s can be found in Pekin on Mondays, Washington on Tuesdays, and Morton on Wednesdays. It also caters special events and large parties, serving area businesses, churches and schools. When serving at a school, it donates 10 percent of the day’s sales back to the school. “We love what we do,” Harris says, “and want to share our passion and knowledge with others.” iBi

Where will Nacho Mama’s be next? To find out, go to