Yesterday was only its second showing at Civic Center Eats, but for the second week in a row, Walt's Mobile Bistro scored the biggest sales at the weekly who's who of street food , says owner and truck namesake Chris Walter.
Haven't heard about Walt's? You're not the only one. "We've been kind of under everybody's radar as far as mobile trucks go," Walter reports. "I guess it's kind of just because we were quiet about it. I'm new at this business and so I didn't know how to beat the drum."
With the truck's debut at Civic Center Eats, that's all about to change.
Walt's is the brainchild of Walter and longtime buddy and caterer Steve Shander. The two men, along with wives Sandy and Tina, have been operating the 25-foot truck for about three months now, slowly becoming more and more active in the mobile food-cart scene.
Walter says he got the idea after watching a CBS Sunday Morning segment last fall that featured mobile food vendors sprouting up on the coasts. With a growing interest in cooking, Walter, who was looking to get out of the construction industry but didn't want to take the financial risk of opening his own restaurant, jumped at the opportunity to get rolling with a mobile food truck instead.
"We thought, here could be our restaurant, and we thought it was a killer idea, so we started researching it," he says.
While the truck turns out burgers and dogs and will accommodate the preferences of its diners, the owners' real passion is for food that's a little more upscale. "We want to step it up a notch," Walter says, "to elevate the quality of the food on a restaurant truck."
Most items cost around $6.50. The truck's signature dishes are its pulled pork and slaw sandwich, meatball sliders and, perhaps most notably, baked macaroni and cheese, which, for $1.50 extra, you can get stuffed with pulled pork and topped with a housemade, mustard-based barbecue sauce.
"We were just standing in the truck one day and I came up with idea of putting pulled pork in it and putting sauce on it," Walter says. "People go nuts for it."
Walter isn't daunted by the competition; he views it as nothing but a good thing for Denver. "It brings affordable good food to people and makes business opportunities for people who maybe can't afford to build a restaurant, so it's good for everybody," he says. "I think it's great."
The business has been so successful that Walter is looking at buying another, smaller truck. In the meantime, in addition to Civic Center Eats each Tuesday, you can find Walt's Mobile Bistro at First Friday in the Santa Fe Arts District (in the parking lot of Garage Antiques at 801 West Eighth Avenue) as well as Thursdays and Fridays at ServiceMagic in Lakewood. For more information call 303-210-8538.