While Utah is home to some great unicorn technology companies; innovation comes in many flavors… including the culinary world. One of the state’s new restaurant innovators is Holly Jo Cloyd.
Holly Jo Cloyd
Utah, with its increasingly eclectic and international population, ever more sophisticated palate and strong preference for healthy, fresh ingredients and house-made entrees, was ripe for the kind of culinary inventions Cloyd had in mind.
When Cloyd found herself unexpectedly divorced at the age of 49, this mother of five, who had always been a stay at home mom, did what anyone else would do. She worked for a small wage in various Utah food establishments to learn the business, went to the International Culinary Center in New York to become a classically trained chef, and then proceeded to launch or purchase four different food-related companies. Nomad Eatery, her current focus (2110 West North Temple with a second location in Salt Lake City in the works to open December 2019) was the Utah Restaurant Association’s Best New Concept in 2018.
“I had a degree in art history and a passion for making meals large groups could enjoy. I decided I’d use my personal setback as a stepping stone for growth, and I followed my passion with a great deal of help.”
“Our first venture was the Cluck Truck, bringing healthy chicken wraps to the masses. I worked for free at a food truck and learned the business. Then, with my sons and my partner, we started our own. You are never too old to learn something new.”
Cluck Truck was a hit; expanding to two trucks and was sold about the time Nomad was readying for launch.
Nomad uses a chef-driven approach to menu development. That meant Cloyd had to find a talented chef to bring in as a partner. Having worked under Justin Soelberg previously, (Soelberg is also a graduate of the International Culinary Center and was part of Cloyd’s inspiration to attend there) she knew he would be perfect to drive Nomad’s development.
Nomad, true to its name, is a combination of Soelberg’s timely ideas. The fast-casual menu features a variety of tastes suited for well traveled diners; “We wanted a place where you can get a specialty wood-fired pizza… a pork taco or a smoked salmon salad, finishing it off with a local peach crisp or a massive rice crispy treat,” he says.
You can also enjoy a drink at Nomad’s hip bar.
Holly Jo Cloyd with business partner and chef Justin Soelberg