New Cajun food truck Voodoo Roux comes to Black Mountain

Karrigan Monk
Black Mountain News
Cousins Brian Richards (left) and Emanuel Nunez (right) had a soft opening of their new food truck Voodoo Roux the first weekend of December. They are currently waiting on truck repairs and permits to fully open.

Black Mountain residents will soon be able to get their Cajun food fix with a new food truck, Voodoo Roux, by cousins and business partners Emanuel Nunez and Brian Richards.

Gulf coast natives, the cousins both have a background in the restaurant business.

Nunez, a Marine Corps veteran, worked in his father's restaurant before enlisting. He worked as a government contractor in California before relocating to Black Mountain in August. When Nunez’s contract ended in San Diego, he said he was looking for new opportunities. His mother, who works at Mission Hospital, had been living in Black Mountain for a while.

Richards started working at his stepfathers Piggly Wiggly before moving on to Wendy’s at age 15. Richards said he was a manager by the time he was 19 or 20 and has been a manager at various other operations ever since.

Nunez said he and Richards had been talking about opening a food truck together concretely since February. In September, the cousins bought a truck.

The food truck had its soft opening the first weekend of December. The truck is currently getting repairs, and the business partners are awaiting permits from the city of Asheville to begin full operations. Richards said the permits should come through and the truck should be operational again in less than a month’s time.

After a customer posted on the Black Mountain Exchange Facebook group, Nunez and Richards said they saw a steep increase in business and made a Facebook page right away.

“I had no idea that we would create the buzz that we did,” Nunez said. “We had a blast. I love cooking food, I love hearing the feedback from that and doing something right that people will enjoy. My favorite part is just being able to bring a piece of our home to here.”

Nunez focuses on the food, which includes gumbo, po’boys, beignets, Dynamite Coffee and more. Richards said he enjoys the service part of the business the most.

“I grew up in it,” Richards said. “Pretty much all I’ve ever done is food. It’s the more service part of it that I get my inspiration from. Getting to meet people and getting to put a smile on people’s face and make their day a little bit better because they ain’t got to cook dinner.”

Voodoo Roux opened in the BP gas station parking lot across from Ingles. Nunez said they had originally planned to open in Marion because that is where they have their commissary kitchen, but when offered the spot at BP, they could not turn it down.

“This BP parking place just kind of fell in our laps,” Nunez said. “We thought it was a great idea to be able to offer New Orleans food in the town we live. This is where we want to be.”

Upon moving to the area, Nunez and Richards were working at the same restaurant in Asheville but said they were not happy there. Richards said the service industry is experiencing an extreme labor shortage and he felt that at the restaurant. He said the restaurant was pushing them to put out food they were not proud of, which was also part of the reason they were moved to leave and start their own business.

“This concept for us was not only a financial decision, but it was a quality of life decision,” Richards said. “We’re the only ones we have to depend on. That’s what really instigated this.”

Once Voodoo Roux is up and running, Nunez and Richards already have plans to give back to the community.

Nunez said they have been in talks with Black Mountain Home to host a fundraiser where they donate the majority of their profits from the event to the organization.

“None of them were given a fair hand,” Nunez said. “I think it’s only right to give back.”

Richards said Nunez’s mother got them connected with Black Mountain Home and that family is important to the business.

He said he and Nunez want to only serve food they would serve to their own family.

“If you wouldn’t give it to your grandma, don’t serve it,” Richards said. “That’s how we do it. We’re not going to put anything out that window that we wouldn’t give to our grandma.”