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Makin' Bacon

"Our last name is spelled CH-RI-ST-OPHILOPOU-L-O-S.

I told Nick I was not gonna marry him until I could spell it. We were engaged for three years. And to this day if I start and I stop in the middle of it, I have to start over. But it means ‘Christ is a friend of the people,’ so there's no way I'm not using it.

Nick’s parents came from Greece to New York through Canada, not through Ellis Island, which is why the name never got shortened. After writing letters back and forth for like nine months, they met on a Friday and married on a Sunday and were married for 42 years.

They moved from New York to California and when Nick was three and started Papa Joe's Italian Restaurant.

Nick loved the financial world and went into banking. He swore he’d never go back into the restaurant industry. I grew up here in Saginaw and after college, I was a waitress at the Ritz Carlton and then I worked in marketing for IHOP and Nestle.

Then the banking industry had crashed in California. We lost our jobs and our house. and Nick says to me, ‘Let's move back to Saginaw.”

Mind you, he had never lived in Saginaw.

I said, ‘Are you freaking kidding me? I've been in California for 20 years. Why would I want to go to Saginaw?’

But we came out that September just to look around … I had forgotten how late it stays light in Michigan. And the colors of fall. And the cost of living.

So we went back to California and packed up everything we had. We put all of our stuff in a pod container and left it there. We had a pickup truck with a cab over camper, put everything we could fit in the truck, and drove cross-country back to Saginaw with our three dogs.

We landed at my sister's door in the middle of a snowstorm. For about four months, we had five dogs, four adults, three children, two cats, a guinea pig, a fish and a bird all under one roof.

Then we got our own place, I got a job at Morley and then as a retail rep, driving around Mid-Michigan servicing gas stations. Nick got a job as a financial planner.

On Nick's 45th birthday he had a heart attack.

He had to have a quadruple bypass on Thanksgiving weekend. He swore it was the stress that was killing him and when he got ready to go back to work, he was dreading it.

He says to me: ‘I'd like to start a food truck.’

I told him he was out of his flippin’ mind.

‘There is no way on God's green Earth I was getting up at five o'clock in the morning and chopping vegetables. I'm not doing it, not doing it, not doing it. ’I said ‘no, no, no, no, no,’ and if I could say ‘NO’ one more time, I would.

And he kept saying, ‘I really want to do it.’

We'd come from California where food trucks were pretty popular, but that time, there weren’t really any food trucks around here. He kept insisting, so for Christmas 2013 I bought him a binder. And I said, ‘If you fill this binder out, I will be on board.’

The binder had tabs for things like financial plans, menu, projections, prices, marketing … all that. He’d have to put a business plan together. I thought, ‘OK, that's just gonna sit there.’

Nope. Two months later, he had the binder all filled out.
And then one day we were watching Eat Street on the Food Channel, and they showed a bacon truck.

I looked at Nick and told him if he wanted to do a bacon truck, I was in...because there's nothing about bacon I don't like."

- Barbara and Nick Christophilopoulos, Owners of Makin' Bacon