Stacks turns to food trucks to raise its local burger profile

Here’s proof that a regular sit-down restaurant can thrive pre- and post-Covid.

By Carly Calabrese, For the Tacoma Daily Index

Here’s proof that a regular sit-down restaurant can thrive pre- and post-Covid.

Stacks Burgers originated as a sit-down restaurant in Federal Way in 2014, and it eventually became clear the business would need to go in a different direction.

Franchise co-owner and event coordinator Donna Santiago explained how Sebastian Brost, the original owner of Stacks Burgers, had a vision of a food truck — and came up with the Stacks Burgers food truck.

“I know we decided to leave that location because it became saturated with food, so many food options there that sales were always decreasing,” she said, “but the food truck was increasing.”

Stacks has three food trucks so far with a fourth on the way.

Truck #1 is presently parked in Buckley Rainier Fresh Country Store at 29290 State Route 410 in Buckley and is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Truck #2 is located in the parking lot of Casting Iron at 1444 Cole St. in Enumclaw. This food truck was on the road in 2021 before coming home to its present stationary location.

Truck #3 was acquired by Santiago and was on the road by 2023. She said she found a great location in downtown Puyallup across from Pioneer Park and Anthem Coffee, where she hopes her truck stays stationary. The truck is at 203 West Pioneer in Puyallup and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. This truck has been open since Feb. 20, 2024.

In addition to the food trucks, Stacks Burgers has a regular storefront that opened in Jan. 2023 and seats approximately 45 people, with a focus on “to go” orders, at 14906 Pacific Ave. S. in Parkland (across the street from Lake Spanaway Golf Course).

Santiago said Truck #4, their biggest truck, is waiting on permitting from Pierce County. The goal would be to use this truck for bigger events such as the Bite of Seattle, Taste of Tacoma, SummerFest and Reggae on the Way.

When asked about exciting things planned for the growth of Stacks Burgers, Santiago shared how co-owner Gilbert Trujillo has a vision for a drive-thru like an In-N-Out Burger for “to go” orders rather than a sit-down restaurant.

“Gilbert’s always trying to grow the brand … wouldn’t be surprised if there’s another food truck in 2026,” she said. “We didn’t travel so far during Covid. We didn’t have to travel to Seattle to get good events and were selling out in our local neighborhoods” in Pierce, Thurston and King counties.

Stacks also has a StreetFoodFinder (SFF) app that has helped the business before and after Covid.

“People can still order that way,” said Santiago, explaining how it’s a year-round service.

Santiago said she’s been amazed at the growth of Stacks Burgers so far.

“We’ve really nailed down what ingredients work and what tastes great. We’ve really mastered being fast food, but taste great,” she said, giving some examples. “Brioche buns toasts faster. We purposely use American, Swiss and pepper jack cheeses since they are thinner cheeses that can melt faster. We don’t have tomatoes on the truck as they don’t hold up as well. It can be very hot in the summer. All our sauces (besides barbecue) are made in-house. A variety of sauces such as Stacks Sauce, which is on a few burgers and also sold as a fry sauce, housemade jalapeno aioli, housemade garlic aioli, and housemade maple bacon aioli that are all sauces used on a burger, but are so good that we sell them as a fry sauce as well.”

Santiago became a food truck coordinator and event coordinator for Stacks in 2015 when the company’s three employees, plus Gilbert Trujillo, were able to become the franchise’s co-owners.

“It’s really hard to find employees that have bought into what you are selling, and genuinely love the brand of Stacks, and are promoting it on [their] days off and tagging people on social media,” she said. “We have a great team and great burgers.”

For more information about Stacks Burgers, including how you can book them for your next private event, visit Stacks can accommodate gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, keto, kosher and halal diets.

The picture with the 3 burgers and a can is their Spanaway location (there was no comment on who to give credit for this picture) and I asked verbally initially and via an email for her to send the pics. & menu to.