Food trucks are blowing up in a big way.
Open any gourmet magazine or scroll through any foodie blog, and it’s obvious that 2014 will go down in history as the Year of the Food Truck. A phenomenon originated in Los Angeles, the transportable eateries are popping up everywhere, from Seattle to Chicago and yes, our very own Telluride.
On a particularly sweltering afternoon, I stopped by four trucks and carts, all on Colorado Ave. and within mere feet of one another, and got the facts on the most versatile (and wheel-able) joints in town. Click through the corresponding slideshow to see the combination chefs, waiters and hosts on the street and in action.
Photos by Olivia Exstrum
The Grilled Cheese Cart
Name: Diki Wackenstedt
The truck: The Grilled Cheese Cart
The food: Gourmet grilled cheese, chips, soda
Originally from: California
Years in the biz: The owner of the truck, Wackenstedt said this is her third season running the business.
On the benefits of food trucks: “I wanted to do something outdoors, I wanted to be with the public and I wanted people in Telluride to have a really good experience,” she said. Wackenstedt said she had no previous food truck experience before coming to Telluride.
On the business of grilled cheese: “My mom made a great grilled cheese,” Wackenstedt said. “People can relate to grilled cheese. It’s a comfort food.” After making the mistake of telling her I had eaten a grilled cheese at a pub in Mountain Village prior to the interview, I quickly backpedaled and said that her sandwiches looked much better (they did).
On the importance of being quick on your feet: After asking a few questions, I paused the interview as Wackenstedt started throwing bread onto the griddle. A loaded silence ensued, and after a few seconds she looked up at me and exclaimed, “I’m listening, I’m multitasking!”
On what she hopes to bring to Telluride: “I just love the town,” she said. “I’m just trying to add a little something else, something positive.”
Name: Mike Sheridan
The truck: Diggity Doggs
The food: Hotdogs (including tofu and turkey versions), chips, soda
Originally from: “I am 21, born and raised in Telluride,” Sheridan said.
Years in the biz: Sheridan said this is his second year working the stand. Surprisingly enough, he said he heard about the gig through his parents’ membership in the Elks Lodge.
On the advantages of his last name: “It’s wonderful when I meet cute tourist girls, because I can pretend that I own the Sheridan [Chop House Restaurant],” he said, gesturing to the restaurant on his left. Sheridan quickly asked me not to include the part about the cute girls, but then changed his mind, saying, “Or if you want to, that might be kind of funny.”
On his previous job experience: “Honestly, I’ve worked a lot of jobs,” Sheridan said. “Construction, bussing, serving, expediting in the restaurant business. But working a food cart during the summer is probably the best gig in town.”
On today’s culinary significance: “It’s National Hot Dog Day!” he exclaimed, and attributed the day’s steady business to the holiday. His neighbor, Jennifer Ruenz of The Gyro Stand (profiled below), informed us that Aug. 11 is National Gyro Day. More details on my upcoming lunch at the stand to come soon.
On why he loves his job: Throughout the interview, Sheridan stopped to chat with customers and at one point jokingly shushed friends sitting nearby because he had a “very important interview.” Simply, Sheridan said, “I love it. You know, hanging out, seeing people, making people happy, that’s what we do.”
Name: Trisha Cofield
Food truck: Biking Burrito
The food: Burritos, quesadillas, baked goods, soda
Originally from: Cofield said she and her partner came to Telluride all the way from the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, in a “little town called Pascagoula.”
Years in the biz: Cofield said she and her partner have been running the cart since the winter of 2012, although now they are only open in the summer. “We decided to quit the whole winter shenanigans,” she said with a laugh. “We decided to just stick with skiing.”
On the cart’s name: “The basis of the company name is we bike out all our ingredients from our commercial kitchen here to the cart,” Cofield said. Sure enough, wheels can be seen peeking out from underneath the grill.
On why Telluride: “We love it!” she said. “We love being out here, we love the people watching and getting to know everyone in the community, the locals as well as the tourists. We truly enjoy being a part of the community and the small businesses around.”
The Gyro Stand
Name: Jennifer Ruenz
Food truck: The Gyro Stand
The food: Gyros, salads
Originally from: Wisconsin
Years in the biz: Ruenz said the cart’s owner has had the cart for “about seven or eight years,” although he bought it off of someone else. Ruenz herself has worked the cart part-time for the past three summers.
On how she ended up in Telluride: “I grew up in [Wisconsin], but my ex-husband and I used to build ski lifts,” she said. “That’s how we first discovered this place, and we couldn’t not stay here after a couple of years.”
On the cart’s heirloom status: “[The cart’s] been passed off from person to person as the years have gone by,” Ruenz said.
On, again, why Telluride: “Why Telluride?” she asked. “What better place is there than Telluride? I’ve moved away a couple of times, and I cannot keep coming back here. It’s great, it is.”