After opening a catering business and a brick-and-mortar restaurant, chef-owner Chris Spear took his knowledge on the road.

About six years ago, Spear started a catering business out of his home, known today as Cooking from Roots. From individual lunches to wedding services, the catering company creates a personalized menu for any occasion.

Spear, with his passion for cooking, did not want to stop there.

He dove into the restaurant industry, opening Roots Eatery on North John Wayne Parkway in 2020. And more recently — in 2022 — he decided to meet customers halfway.

Spear now owns the Mafia Pop-Up Kitchen, a food trailer where he can meet customers face-to-face in a different setting. He aims to get the trailer out at least twice a month to events in Maricopa.

“Every time we’ve taken it out, we’ve been pretty close to sold out,” Spear said. “For instance, we did a big festival and sold 30 pounds of pasta.”

The service is fast-paced. Chefs create everything to-order, customizing macaroni and cheese bowls with green chili, lobster or breadcrumbs.

Christopher Spear, owner/chef of Roots Eatery. [Bryan Mordt]
“We have to go fast,” Spear said. “You know how you usually get a buzzer to know when your food’s ready? Well, when we do it, we don’t even have time to get you a buzzer.”

A speedy system and streamlined menu enhance efficiency without sacrificing quality, Spear said.

Spear enjoys the social aspect of food trucks.

“Basically, you can go to the people versus trying to get the people to come to you,” he said.