For most of her life, Katty Christensen has loved making and serving food, and now she is living her dream as the franchise owner of the newest Jurassic Tacos location in Springville.
Christensen, who is also the owner of Keloke Dominican Restaurant in
Orem Provo said that she began serving food to people in her native community in the Dominican Republic.
“I have a passion for food,” she said. “I served an LDS mission in the Dominican Republic where I am from, and during my mission, every time that I got the opportunity to cook meals for people I would. Making food for people was something that I loved to do even before my mission. I have alway had a passion for hosting people and serving people that way.”
Christensen moved to the United States in the early 2000’s, following her church mission, to go to school. She said that it was a struggle, but that there were many people who helped her along the way.
“During my mission, I went to the US embassy and my visa was denied, but my mission president encouraged me to go to Utah to go to school here,” she said. “My mission president wrote a letter to the embassy to recommend me as a good candidate, and because of that, after I finished my mission, the Embassy called me to say that they wanted to interview me again, and they gave me a visa.”
Christensen began her educational journey at Brigham Young University in the ESL classes, but said that when she tested to be admitted to regular classes, she wasn’t admitted. While this was disappointing, it didn’t deter her, and she applied and was accepted to Utah Valley University. Not only was she accepted, but she excelled, finishing her 4-year degree in two years and one semester, graduating in 2009.
However, with the struggling economy at the time, Christensen said that she worried about being able to get a job that would allow her to remain in the country. Thankfully, the University offered her a job to work with students like herself.
“I worked for the Multicultural Student Services where I was able to do a good enough job and the university sponsored me and granted me a work visa for six years,” she said. “I ended up working for UVU for a total of 11 years helping multicultural students get scholarships and work with them in academics.”
While there, Christensen would often invite an up and coming taco truck to cater events.
“I used to work at UVU for many years, and I would eat at the Jurassic Tacos food truck, and I really loved it,” she said. “Any event that I was coordinating at UVU, I would invite Fernando and his truck, and we became great friends.”
After 11 years, Christensen said that she was no longer able to renew her visa, and she had to decide what she wanted to do moving forward. It was then when she remembered her love for making and serving food.
“Back in 2018, my visa wasn’t being renewed, so I decided to take my retirement money out and build a food truck,” she said. “While that was being processed, and the food truck was almost completed, I needed to find a commissary kitchen so I could be compliant with the health department. So while I was looking for a commissary kitchen, I found this place in the Asian Market. I decided that I was not only going to rent it, but open a Dominican restaurant there. It is kind of odd to have a Dominican restaurant inside of an Asian market, but it’s been really successful. People have been really supportive even through the pandemic.”
Christensen named the restaurant Keloke which means, “Hi, what’s up?” in her native tongue.
While Christensen loved eating the food she made everyday, she said that there were times when she had cravings for something a little different, and she would frequently stop by her favorite taco truck.
“When I was serving food, and I was craving his tacos, I would just drive out to Fernando’s Jurassic Tacos food truck,” she said. “There’s just something about how he cooked the meat that I would just crave.”
Little did she know that soon Fernando (Felix) would contact her with a proposal she couldn’t refuse.
“Last year, Fernando reached out to me to see if I was interested in opening a Jurassic Taco franchise, and I said I would love to!” Christensen said. “I was looking to locate more in the American Fork area, but when I saw the Springville location, I fell in love with the area. Also, the fact that it was a drive thru was really appealing to me, so I ended up taking the location.”
Christensen currently runs Jurassic Tacos as well as her restaurant in Orem.
Jurassic Tacos is located at 1851 West 500 South in Springville, and is one of five franchises. Christensen said that she hopes people try it out.
“There are a lot of taco places in Utah, but the concept Fernando has created is just a really good combination that is really appealing to the mainstream community,” she said. “The way the meat is cooked and portions and authenticity is something that you won’t find at other casual taco restaurants.”
For restaurant locations, menu and catering options, go to jurassictaco.com.