CEDAR FALLS — As a business management major at Wartburg College, Krystal Graves assumed she would end up in an office.
“I thought I wanted an office job because I’d been in the food industry my entire life. I was kind of like ‘get me outta here,’” she said, laughing.
But an entrepreneurship class her junior year, in which she developed a business plan for a food truck, was the catalyst for a shift in plans.
Graves graduated in 2016 and is now the proud owner of Kubo, a food truck that serves up Filipino American cuisine to hungry lunch crowds several days a week at various locations around the Cedar Valley. Food is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., or until it runs out.
Kubo’s home base is in front of Hansen’s Dairy on 18th Street in Cedar Falls, but Graves also occasionally sets up in the VGM parking lot on San Marnan Drive in Waterloo, Martin Brothers Food Market on Viking Road in Cedar Falls and other locations. Hungry fans can find out where the food truck will be and the menu of the day with the hashtag #whereskubo on various social media platforms.
Graves dishes up chicken adobo, beef kaldereta (stew with vegetables), pancit (a rice noodle dish with vegetables) and other traditional Filipino fare. The closely guarded recipes come courtesy of Graves’ mother, Madelyn Graves, a native of the Philippines.
“I told her there are two or three secret ingredients that I won’t tell anybody. Not even my sister knows my secret recipe,” Madelyn Graves said. “Every region in the Philippines has their own way of cooking foods. We take pride in our cooking.”
Madelyn Graves, who owns Gravy’s Diner in Waterloo and is the former owner of the Waffle Stop in Cedar Falls, helps her daughter prep Kubo’s food off site.
“I help her, showing her how to do stuff, slicing and dicing and marinating. I say, ‘listen what I say to you, watch how I do.’ We line up the spices, we mix it in and taste. That’s how I know it’s good.”
Madelyn Graves is proud of her daughter’s business efforts — and the nod to her origins.
“I am so proud that she took an interest in representing my culture and my heritage through the food truck. That’s where her heart is. She is just such a hard-working girl.”
Krystal Graves is pleased with the success of Kubo so far. She serves hundreds of customers every week and is working on growing her offerings and locations.
“I think I’m really lucky to live in a town with a lot of locally minded people, businesses who are willing to share their parking lot with me.”
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