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After fielding more than 500 e-mails (“I kind of lost count”), McCusker announced he would award the vehicle to chef Ryo Igarashi and his wife Nicole, who run Japanese street-food operation Maru Global. Out of five very worthy finalists, “Maru’s story was the best fit,” the taco purveyor says, and it’s easy to see why. After an electrical fire forced the Igarashis out of their original location on 11th Street, they launched anew in Headhouse Square, only to find out a few months later that Ryo had a brain blood clot requiring immediate surgery. The shop had to close down, and since then, takoyaki fans were mostly out of luck, with the chance to taste the fried octopus balls only at occasional festivals and events.
After the key and title exchange planned for next week, however, Maru Global should be rolling regularly through the city. The mobile kitchen is small, so the pair is considering a rotating menu, and is taking suggestions for what foods to offer and where to set their route. As for McCusker, he’s just happy things are booming at his store - new fish tacos from chef Ricky Danz have been selling “like hot tacos,” and a new steak and yucca burrito is also super popular. Win-win situation, for sure.