In the Roaring Fork Valley, “food truck” is a relative term. Some move, and some don’t; some are full-blown operations with commissary kitchens, while others are trailers built up with pizza ovens or a glorified kitchenette. But one thing is for sure—all have their own niche and schedule, and many are worth getting to know. Here are five new trucks to track down.
When Matt Campbell launched the Biscuit late last summer, it was partly a selfish endeavor. “I love breakfast,” he says, “and I had a desire to have that go-to spot for about 10 years.”
Indeed, local breakfast options with a thoughtful menu and the right vibe are hard to come by. Enter the Biscuit, which serves creative sandwiches, six varieties of biscuits and gravy (try the Basalt, with two eggs and green chile gravy), and breakfast bowls and burritos—plus a friendly, come-as-you-are vibe.
The blue-and-white truck with custom graphics, along with chef Drew Scott (formerly of Downvalley Tavern), can be found in El Jebel’s Movieland parking lot. With high visibility from Highway 82, the Biscuit draws hungry weekday commuters with chairs and tables that encourage them to eat on-site, since we all know that a biscuit is always best when it’s pipin’ hot. Tip: Ask about the daily specials, like made-to-order lemon-ricotta doughnut holes with house-made strawberry jam. Open Mon–Fri, 6–10:30 a.m.; 218 E Valley Road, El Jebel; 970-274-6854; thebiscuittruck.com
Dustino’s Pizza Strada
Dustin Rowe moved from Wisconsin to Snowmass for two reasons: to teach skiing and to work in kitchens before attending culinary school. That was 26 years ago, and although Rowe still instructs at Snowmass, the goal of culinary school has long since faded from view.
In the years since he arrived in Colorado, Rowe has developed a love of pizza first inflamed while he was making pies at Il Poggio. That passion ultimately led him to buy a mobile wood-fired oven and launch Dustino’s Pizza Strada three years ago.
No matter where the food truck pulls up—the Basalt Sunday Market, Woody Creek Distillers (on Food Truck Fridays), events that span from Aspen to Parachute—it’s clear Dustino’s isn’t chain-joint pizza. On any given day, the toppings on offer reflect what’s growing in Rowe’s personal garden: a 20-by-15-foot plot in Carbondale harboring a bounty of broccoli rabe, tomatoes, chiles, mixed greens, kale, garlic, Roman artichokes, Japanese eggplants, and a variety of squash.
“Dustino’s is a way to use a lot of the food I grow and to incorporate food from other farmer friends,” he says. And what Rowe can’t grow he tries to source locally—sometimes even from the vendor beside him at the farmers market. 970-948-4184
No other valley chefs can say they’ve won the Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen. But Chris Mathie, a former sous chef for Element 47 at The Little Nell and at Ajax Tavern, can: he competed during the French onion soup challenge in Season 3 and systematically outlasted the competition. Mathie now brings that same prowess to Gerb’s Grub, a food trailer he built by hand with his father over the course of six months.
The menu is concise: “I just do chicken thighs,” Mathie says. “I wanted something super simple.” But simple doesn’t mean boring—not when those chicken thighs spend time marinating in pineapple juice and red chiles from Hatch, New Mexico. For a flavor comparison, think tacos al pastor—except with chicken instead of pork. And once he incorporates the meat (or, for vegans, sweet potato hash) into quesadillas, tacos, or bowls, Mathie offers different condiments, like salsa macha made with fried chiles, garlic, and onion and a “guaca-chile” (so named by a friend) with jalapeños, onion, and cilantro.
With a childhood spent in Santa Fe, Mathie comes by his love of spice and chiles naturally. His first job was in the kitchen of the La Fonda on the Plaza hotel, where he fell in love with different salsas. Discover Mathie’s continued love of texture and flavor at the Basalt Sunday Market, outside Carbondale’s Way Home restaurant on First Fridays, and at Basalt’s Midvalley Medical Center once a week or so during lunch. 505-550-0504; gerbs-grub.com
Anyone who has spent more than a few years in the valley likely has a Grana Bread story. The bakery, which John and Fiona Smollen used to run out of the Basalt business park, turned out perfectly crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside baguettes, twisty herb-and-cheese breadsticks, and an array of pastries. But in 2005, the Smollens downsized to a small café in Carbondale with the goal of simplifying their lifestyle while still selling pastries and sandwiches made on their beloved bread.
The café closed in 2012, but Fiona (now divorced) wasn’t giving up on bread. It took a few years to find the right idea, but in 2016, she opened an Aspen Popcorn Wagon–like truck tucked behind Carbondale’s Main Street and named it Granetta (a diminutive iteration of “Grana”). “It’s simple and small, and it’s the most fun business I’ve ever had,” she says.
Granetta offers breakfast and lunch sandwiches on Fiona’s signature baguettes (all baked on the truck), with six prized seats on the patio for those who want to linger. Dine here or take away, but do not miss the Waldorf chicken salad or the Tour of the Moon grilled cheese with the option of ham and pickled jalapeños (say yes to both!). Open Tue–Fri, 7 a.m.–2 p.m.; 54 N Fourth St, Carbondale; 970-230-2817; granetta.com
WildStyle Kitchen owner John Sherwood specializes in serving locally inspired, gourmet street food. That involves offering meats beyond the usual beef, chicken, and pork; his selection includes Colorado-raised bison, yak, elk, duck, and lamb. If it’s on the menu—which changes regularly—don’t miss the BLT with lamb bacon, which Sherwood cures, smokes, slices, and renders for the sandwich.
“The driving force is to put a spin on street food and do it with healthier, responsible, local products,” he says.
As someone who has spent the better part of his career in restaurants (he currently works front-of-house at the Pullman in Glenwood Springs), Sherwood knows the industry inside out. In fact, he says, when designing his wood-clad truck with the help of Carbondale artist Chad Stieg, providing literal transparency was key.
“Food trucks used to be associated with roach coaches,” notes Sherwood. “I want you to see the love, care, and integrity from start to finish, from the people growing the food to me cooking it.”
Look for the WildStyle truck at events around the Roaring Fork Valley this summer, including the Aspen Ideas Festival. facebook.com/wildstylekitchen