I'll be honest: When I saw the donkey logo, I wasn't expecting to find an Intelligentsia-trained barista inside. But month-old Rosco's Coffee House (432 W. Bijou St., see Facebook page) surprises at more than one turn.
Take owner Tony White, a surgery-device salesman, who upon reading an article on burro racing years ago, thought to himself, "That's stupid. Let's do it!"
Then along came Rosco, "one of the largest donkeys in Colorado," and Mordecai, who won a 29-mile race in Fairplay running alongside White while loaded with 33 pounds on his back. Mordecai may be faster, but "Rosco draws a crowd," says White. "He's a friendly, fun animal — that's why he became the theme of the shop."
White and his wife Jann bring Rosco down to meet guests outside at least once a month, and he'll star at a July 11 grand opening party. Otherwise, when it comes to the actual fare, manager Caleb Duckworth and lead barista Annette Moon have created a smart menu built around custom coffees co-roasted by Duckworth with Glenn Powell at Barista Espresso.
Duckworth is the Intelligentsia spawn, while Moon spent two years locally at Colorado Coffee Merchants. Together, they've created items like an Ethiopian, Peruvian, Costa Rican cold brew blend and organized a pourover bar to highlight single-origin beans. A Nuova Simonelli espresso machine helps toward their goal of being "perfectly consistent," in her words.
So don't let all the burro business fool you: Rosco's is no pack animal, and might even blaze a trail or two.
Tara Lynam says it took almost two years for her and her husband Bob to do all the research and legwork to bring OMGoodness (790 Red Feather Lane, Woodland Park, 459-3662) to market. OMG is a food truck, and that address is actually for Mountain Naturals Community Market, outside of which OMG parks (see Facebook page for hours).
That all started with Bob thinking he was about to be laid off from his tech job and buying a truck to transition into. Then he wasn't let go, so Tara, who calls herself "a mom who loves to cook," left her career of 15 years inside the security industry to focus on food. Specifically 100 percent organic, GMO-free fare with vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and Paleo options.
"We'd almost given up," she says, noting "ingredients I've been fooled by." But now she's aligned with several local suppliers and vendors whose sustainability processes she's verified, "down to the salt and pepper and our to-go containers." Hence OMG actually standing for "organically made goodness."
Items change daily, but expect the likes of enchiladas or French onion soup, quinoa salad and tamales from a century-old recipe. And on days when Bob can lend a hand, look for specials like his elk meatloaf with juniper-pomegranate sauce.