WOODLAND PARK, NJ — If you’re from North Jersey and you love Peruvian food, chances are you’ve heard of The Lomo Truck.
At the helm of the thriving business is Cesar Valdivia, who first set up his food truck at the intersection of Madison and Getty Avenues in Paterson in 2016.
“I was the one taking your order, cooking your food, giving you your food and then I was on Instagram,” he explained.
If he wasn’t cooking, he was keeping his IG followers enthralled with appetizing pictures of Peruvian favorites like lomo saltado — a stir-fry of beef strips, onions and french fries — and a special dish they call the green monster: pesto spaghetti with beef strips.
Over the years, Valdivia has built a fan base of tens of thousands. While the support continued when COVID hit, Valdivia who runs the business with his father — also named Cesar — and brother Victor Ortega, decided to press pause as they were concerned over their grandparents, who at the time were staying at a nursing home in Wayne.
“It scared us,” Valdivia said. “We ended up still losing our grandparents unfortunately due to COVID. It was about nine days apart.”
While the loss took a toll on the family, the outpouring of support from customers helped them through that dark time.
“I had people drop off cards – one lady told me ‘I sprayed it with Lysol, so you are good,’” he explained.
That bond with their community allowed them to keep moving, eventually opening back up.
“We came back strong. We started doing business from day one back again and we haven’t stopped since,” Cesar Valdivia Sr. said.
The family even opened up a brick-and-mortar location in Woodland park to keep up with demand.
The truck will soon be back on the road when the weather warms up.
The ultimate dream is to launch a franchise
“I see us coast to coast,” Valdivia said.