All in at Fifty Fifty
This past weekend, Fifty Fifty Coffee House changed ownership, as neighboring SwitchBack Coffee Roasters (330 N. Institute St., switchbackroasters.com) co-owners and co-roasters Brandon DelGrosso and Nathan Bland purchased the business next door from Jo Marini and Sara Crowell.
Marini says the businesses already had been in talks for "better ways to integrate," and that the ultimate decision to sell wasn't for business, but personal reasons. "We're great at creating brands and concepts and executing on them," says Marini, who with Crowell also used to own The Local food truck. "But at the day's end, these are the guys who'll take that shop and make it endure over the long haul."
The Fifty Fifty name will stay for some time, says DelGrosso, but it's possible that in, say, a year, they may go with SwitchBack's banner. That'll be after punching a doorway between the roast-side and café, as well as extending the coffee bar, enclosing their air roaster and cutting a garage door to fit a new drum roaster inside.
Having both types of roasters presents a unique opportunity to heat the same beans in different ways — a cupping experiment that no other local outfit of which we're aware can pull off under the same roof.
"We see this as an entire process," he says, "the whole roast-to-cup experience, that's our dream."
To further aid in its realization, they've picked up roaster Bevan Cammell from Colorado Coffee Merchants. DelGrosso says "he comes with roasting knowledge, but he's also a fantastic barista. He'll implement a training program for us to train up our baristas. ... we're elevating everything across the board."
That will include the food menu, which will grow by at least a few items soon. And on Feb. 23, hours will expand to 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends, with even longer hours come summertime.
Ramon Q's return
In mid-2014, Ramon Q's Cantina closed at 1005 W. Colorado Ave. — not for lack of support after nearly two years, but because of family matters. Owner Elizabeth Giberti vowed at the time to launch a line of her own salsa, which she says will be available at Whole Foods soon.
But more exciting, her and her husband Michael's personal situation has shifted such that they're aiming to return to the scene within a month, with a new food truck called Ramon Q's Cantina Foods (425-0042).
The new venture will branch out from strictly Mexican fare — though many popular Ramon Q's items will star — to include Italian meatball sandwiches, pasta, wings, daily specials and "a little bit of everything," she says.
Look for the truck outside Copperhead Road (3330 N. Academy Blvd.) Thursday through Saturday evenings, and likely at Curbside Cuisine in the near future as well.