County 10’s #landerbiz series is brought to you by the Lander Chamber of Commerce to share the stories of the local movers and shakers of our Fremont County economy. This story was originally published by County 10 on March 9, 2024.

(Lander, WY) –  If you are looking for something fried and something a little different for lunch or dinner, then the new local food truck Ten Tempura has you covered.

Ten Tempura will be offering tempura-fried menu items like shrimp, chicken, tofu, veggies, apples, avocado fries, and even something called an “Octo Dawg.” You can check out the full menu here.

All photos by Vince Tropea, County 10

One thing that can be guaranteed with whatever menu item you choose, is that the products will be fresh and local.

“We ain’t no saloon slinging greasy grub,” the Ten Tempura website explains. “We’re talkin’ locally-sourced ingredients and veg grown right here in Fremont County that’ll make your grandma weep tears of joy.”

County 10 caught up with Ten Tempura chef/co-owner/operator Jacob Wells, who runs the business with his sister/CEO Jennifer Brennan.

Wells explained they are committed to using as many locally sourced goods as they can, and plan to continue to collaborate with independent farmers/utilize goods from local farmers markets.

Wells told County 10 that initially he and his sister wanted to open some type of ramen restaurant, but soon realized his tempura creations were quite tasty and could be the main selling point of a food truck.

“This is one of those situations where you want to be good at electric guitar, but you’re amazing at playing the bass,” Wells joked about that decision to go the tempura route.

Tempura is often cited as a cooking style that originated in Japan, but Wells explained its origins are actually Portuguese, and he wanted to apply those various styles with the southern philosophy of “We can deep fry anythang,” to help make it their own.

Wells got his start in the culinary field while in the US NAVY, where initially, as a mechanic, he wasn’t allowed “anywhere near” the kitchen, but later became a Non-Commissioned Officer with “access to freezers,” as Wells put it.

He also got to sample many types of foreign cuisine while serving.

After leaving the NAVY Wells gained even more culinary skills, starting with learning the process of bulk food prep management while working with Chester’s Fried Chicken at Mr. D’s in Lander, and later while attending the International Culinary Arts Institute in Portland.

While at that private culinary school, Wells met his future boss in one of his classes, and later had a happenstance meeting with the individual who would go on to become his mentor.

While leaving class one day, the owner of the still-being-built Little Big Burger, a popular Portland-area burger chain, happened to see Wells with his chef attire/knife kit.

Wells said the man was in the middle of an argument on his cell phone (apparently with a worker who had just quit or did not show up), and when he saw Wells, yelled “You! Do you want a job?”

Wells took the job, and went on to help that individual open eight Little Big Burgers along with his classmate, before the chain was later purchased by the company that owns Hooters. They also opened popular food spots like Blue Star Donuts and Boxer Ramen.

Wyoming soon called Wells home not long after, however, and when he returned he worked at Lander mainstay restaurants like the Cowfish, Middlefork, Sego (RIP) and the Gannett Grill.

With all of that expertise, Wells is excited for folks to try Ten Tempura, which will have a home-base in Lander and “strong presence at the Saturday farmer’s markets,” but will also travel to other parts of Fremont County and Wyoming, including the Taste Of Wyoming event in Rawlins in October.

Additionally, Ten Tempura hopes to be a winter fixture at the Pushroot Brewing Company when they open, and will also provide catering services.

Ten Tempura will be celebrating its official grand opening sometime after April, and you keep up to date on all the deep fried happenings on their website linked up top, as well as their Facebook page.