Nikki McGowan Marks owns and operates the Mindgrub Cafe food truck. Although it is a labor of love, Nikki got her start as a culinary entrepreneur because she was confronted with the sobering reality of providing for her three children as a single mother. What began as a business offering cooking classes for students in Howard County, Maryland, led to the opening of the Mindgrub Cafe, originally Madame BBQ, food truck. From the truck she serves health-conscious menu items, such as quinoa bowls, black bean burgers, and salmon wraps, along side the barbeque staples she originally served when she first opened for business, throughout the Baltimore metro area.
The Mindgrub Cafe food truck, however, is not just another way to help support her family. Nikki uses it as an opportunity to inspire and give practical hands-on experience to future culinary entrepreneurs. Often former students help man the truck at special events in order to gain valuable cooking and customer service experience. Nikki hopes that her story inspires others to be bold in pursuing their dreams.
Nikki is challenging Baltimore’s 300-foot rule because it prevents her from successfully operating in the city. For Nikki, the possibility of receiving $500 tickets and having her vending license revoked is too great a risk. The 300-foot rule is creating a needless obstacle for Nikki and entrepreneurs like her eager to satisfy Baltimoreans’ diverse tastes.