By Adilene Rodriguez, special to Oil City News
Troy and Jessika Girod are on a mission to feed the world, both literally and spiritually, and have chosen Casper as the launch site for their quest to build a community via some of their biggest passions.
The couple currently operate Troy’s Killer Tacos and Girod Custom Longboards. The two businesses play a part in their ambitious task of uniting people from all walks of life.
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“We want to start something here, we want to put our roots here,” says Jessika.
Troy is a self-taught chef who credits his interest in cooking to watching cooking television shows and his father’s persistent, and often failed, attempts of cooking Mexican cuisine.
His love for tacos began after his first taste of an authentic Mexican street taco from a cart vendor in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“Everyone’s had the Tex-Mex, Taco Bell taco, but after my first authentic taco, it kinda changed things,” said Troy. “I wasn’t used to carne asada, real corn tortillas, or anything like that. Real simple but so good.”
Since then, he’s been perfecting his craft and formally began Troy’s Killer Tacos in 2016.
Troy is a chef-for hire who mainly does pop-up events and utilizes other people’s spaces to vend his culinary creations. Jessika helped push her husband on this new career path and cites a 2018 event where he catered all four days of a female entrepreneurs retreat in La Jolla, Calif., for which they are still receive raving testimonials.
“When Troy cooks, genuinely, you feel the passion in his cooking. He’s very nurturing and putting love into people’s food, he’s very good at that,” says Jessika.
“After the event, the thing that people were talking about for months later was nothing else other than Troy’s food.”
Before he began his culinary career, Troy Girod was a logistics manager for a billboard company in Salt Lake City.
After the company went under, he moved to Riverton where he met Jessika, his now-wife and business partner.
In Riverton they would participate in collaborative pop-up events, providing food as others provided the establishment and entertainment. This set the tone for their business model built on communal efforts.
The Girods credit their move to Casper on inspiration; a drive that they haven’t quite figured out yet but is only intensifying.
One of the couple’s goals is to eventually open a communal work space where Troy’s Killer Tacos could operate out of and double as a workshop for his other venture of making custom longboards.
Girod Custom Longboards formally began last year, but the Girods love for longboarding is well established.
The business began as a hobby of sorts for Girod, who currently operates his shop from their basement apartment. He would often use longboards with custom art as signs for pop-up events to help pique the interest of curious passerby.
He recently participated in this month’s Art Walk at the Frontier Brewing Company and Taproom location where he had some of his extensively crafted artwork on display.
“It could get very intense, I could put anywhere from 10 to 25 hours into one board,” said Troy. “It’s art, but its functional.”
Although recent resurgence in skateboarding has helped increase the volume of people picking up the sport, longboarding continues to be a niche form of riding in the area. The difference between the two forms of riding being the size of the board and athleticism required.
“Skateboarding is more for tricks, longboarding is sidewalk surfing,” says Troy. “Just for us older people that like to cruise around.”
Troy maintains that every one of his longboard customers have all been people who didn’t know how to ride but were all interested in taking up longboarding.
Inspired by the lack of the longboarding community and the story of a Seattle skate church, Jessika hopes this leads to teaching opportunities where they are allowed the chance to inspire youth to turn this sport into something positive.
“It’s super empowering, it’s physical, it gets kids off their phones and their tablets,” said Jessika, “and your playground is anywhere you go, even if you just have a slab of concrete path.”
The Girods are affiliated with The Table, a spiritual community organization that runs on the same module that the couple lives by.
The couple will be participating at this year’s Solarbration on the Circle, hosted by the organization, this Friday night. There, the public will have a chance to try some of Troy’s Mexican delicacies.
The couple cite the organization as inspiration for the atmosphere they want to create in their future ventures in Casper.
For the Girods, it is a place they plan on making home for the unforeseeable future. Casper continues to house the conditions the Girods find ripe for change.
“We have beautiful wide open spaces and now we need a diverse loving, connecting community,” said Jessika. “I think we’re creating that.”