“NIL put us on the map”: Nick Maestas talks all things Muchachos

Muchachos Restaurant and Food Truck was established originally in the form of a food truck over five years ago. It was started by Nick Maestas, a Cozad, Nebraska native, in attempts to relive and recreate the food he grew up loving. Muchachos is known for unusual combinations of meat mixed with other food, such as mac and cheese. Reminiscent of the food he grew up eating with his grandparents, Maestas started to experiment with how he could experience those again.

“I missed those flavors, and I hadn’t ate them much since they passed,” Maestas said. “I started making it again; It felt good to have that.”

Maestas drove down to St. Louis, bought the food truck, and then drove it back to Lincoln. Early on, in attempts to grow their brand they said yes to everything. Now the restaurant is open certain hours, and people hire them to come out with the food truck.

“We’re kinda at the point now where we can say yes or no to whatever we want now,” Maestas said. “We don’t really go out and park on a random street anymore.”

The Hatch Mac Burrito, a hatch chile queso mac and cheese burrito, with brisket, pulled pork, or chicken, and salsa, is an unusual combo for some. To others, it is the most genius combination ever.

“It’s without a doubt our best seller,” Maestas said.

To Maestas, family is everything. He has two boys that are in middle school, and his sister works at Muchachos with him.

“I’m doing this all for my family,” Maestas said. “I also want to make sure that while I’m doing it for them, I don’t want it to be the reason I am away from them.”

The implementation of athletes in NCAA sports being able to profit off their Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL), has been beneficial to not only student athletes, but businesses like Muchachos.

“I think it’s been great for businesses like myself,” Maestas said. “We’re really just trying to partner with our local athletes; people we look up to.”

One of Maestas’ first NIL deals was with senior Husker volleyball player Nicklin Hames. Muchachos even got national coverage over another NIL deal called the “pipeline burrito”. They partnered with eight offensive linemen at Nebraska to create a four-pound burrito, which was even featured on ESPN.

“It’s been a really fun deal for us, NIL put us on the map,” Maestas said.

A more notable NIL deal is with Lincoln East’s own, Malachi Coleman. Coleman, a 4-star athlete and recent Husker Football commit, reached out to Maestas about a year ago, interested in partnering on a deal together.

“We needed to make sure obviously that we could legally do it, with him still being in high school,” Maestas said.

Once those hoops were cleared, they created the “Giverito”, with all profits going to the foster care system.

“Seeing Malachi grow, and seeing his stock rise nationally has been really fun to be a part of,” Maestas said. “A lot of people see the sports side of him, but he’s just a good human and overall dude. To be a small part of his journey has been really fun for me.”

For Maestas, being a successful business owner isn’t concrete. He states how it is easy for people to get caught up in numbers and sales, but that’s not the most important factor to him.

If you don’t feel good when you leave, if you’re not full and happy, I didn’t do my job,” Maestas said. “If nine times out of ten that happens, I’ll consider it a success.”