In 2015, Tacoma native Jen Gustin ditched her corporate desk job after 17 years to follow her dream: starting her own food business. “I worked in restaurants with my mom and family friends as a kid,” she said. “I loved it. I saw how it felt to make people happy by serving them food.”
So, she put her head together with her dad, who advised her to start small, since financing for a full-blown restaurant would be daunting. “Dad said to start my business with a food truck, and he was right,” she said.
Her menu includes inventive, tongue-in-cheek takes on classic hamburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches. Her popular Elvis Burger, for instance, is topped with bananas, peanut butter (yes, you read that right), pickles, onions, cheese, and bacon. No doubt about it: You’re in for a tasty surprise when you bite into this one.
Not for the faint of heart, her humongous Brutus Grilled Cheese combines Monterey Jack, cheddar, brie, and American cheese; grilled jalapenos and onions; Reggie Sauce; bacon; and a quarter-pound Angus beef patty. For a more refined version of grilled cheese, try the B & B Grilled Cheese — Gustin layers creamy brie with bacon, grilled onions, cheddar, and Monterey Jack cheese on fresh bread toasted to a crispy crunch.
Boss Mama’s Kitchen has gained a loyal following, not just for Gustin’s imaginative cooking, but also for her condo, positive attitude. Gustin said she offers event-catering services, too, providing customized menus for everything from corporate picnics (socially distanced, of course) to backyard baby showers. She said her goal is to take the pressure off the party host by providing great food served with a fun attitude. “Then we just pack up and go — no stress!” she laughed.