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Cortez man turns passion for pork into a mobile restaurant

Ernie Padilla opens 'made fresh daily' food truck The Wigglin' Pig

Ernie Padilla opened his traveling restaurant, The Wigglin’ Pig, to a hearty welcome.

Padilla bought his trailer a year ago when he was working in the construction business and renovated it himself into a mobile restaurant.

He began serving his “made fresh daily” recipes to Montezuma County about a month ago.

Padilla hopes to grow the restaurant and his menu, which includes a sandwich called the “Wilburn,” a spicy pork grilled cheese sandwich inspired by Wilbur the pig from the classic tale “Charlotte’s Web,” and his homemade coleslaw, “pig slop.”

On the name of his restaurant, “The Wigglin’ Pig,” Padilla said he has just always loved pigs.

“Growing up, some people in my family had pigs. I’ve raised a few pigs myself, butchered them, ate them,” he said. “I just wanted to bring some good food around.”

His passion for cooking began as a child when he would follow his mother around the kitchen asking to help and learn from her. He has worked in local restaurants off and on throughout the years.

Now, his newer recipes are tested on his own family, his wife, Christina Padilla and their three children. He said he is always in the kitchen, experimenting and making a mess.

For Padilla, cooking is a stress reliever. He said even when business gets busy, he does not get stressed because he loves what he does.

He also said his customers understand they are getting a freshly made meal and are willing to wait for the quality.

Padilla is still getting used to his new business but hopes to expand into catering opportunities. He served up his pork-themed cuisine at a recent basketball tournament with proceeds going to the Montezuma-Cortez girls volleyball team. He said he wants to help out where he can and bring good food to the community.

“I want to do different stuff throughout the summer. I want to possibly have a pot roast,” Padilla said. “I want to help out the community ... any other charity I can help out, a little bit goes a long way.”

Padilla intends to stay local and eventually serve local products. He makes his own barbecue sauce, cuts his fresh French fries and makes his pico de gallo in the mornings before opening. The only thing Padilla does not make is his own bread.

“I am still growing, and I want to expand more to catering, birthday parties – any event – but at the time right now, I still need to get everything going,” Padilla said.

Padilla opens his restaurant from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. four days per week. He posts where he will be parked on his business’ Facebook page, which has garnered quite the following and a five-star rating.

Padilla is looking forward to expanding on his business, having regular parking and growing his customer base. For now, he said he is thankful for the support he has received in his new business endeavor.

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