Comedian/restaurateur Will White on his paleo-diet truck, Kickstarter and standup
Will Will White consent to an interview? "Gee, let me think, um..fuck, yeah, man!" says the up-and-coming comedian and restaurateur. White's exuberance has reached a fever pitch lately, as his bourgeoning standup career dovetails with a new chapter in his business career -- as owner of the Caveman Cafeteria.
In the following interview, White discusses the advantages of a paleolithic-style diet, getting out of the Army, support from Denver's standup community and the final week of his Kickstarter project.
Westword: When did you get the idea for Caveman Cafeteria, and how long have you been open?
Will White: I got the idea for a paleo-style food truck when I was on my third tour in Iraq in late 2010. I started doing CrossFit and was blown away by the results. I snooped around the CrossFit website and saw that they recommended the paleo diet. I tried it strictly for a month and was amazed. I lost some excess weight, but the main thing that impressed me was that I slept well for the first time in my life, and my energy was even all day without needing a nap in the afternoon. Our first day of business was June 2, 2012. I separated from the Army on May 29...perfect timing!
Can you describe what the caveman diet entails and what its potential health benefits are?
The Caveman Diet (or paleo diet) is based on the idea that humans are nothing more than biological organisms that have evolved over millions of years and adapted to eat, move and live in a certain way. Long story short: no grains, sugars, processed oils, etc.... We evolved eating grass-fed meats, organic vegetables, and our main source of energy is stored fat, not carbohydrates. The health benefits are almost too numerous to name. Heart disease, diabetes,cancer, obesity...all of these maladies are preventable with a paleo style of eating.
Talk about the Kickstarter project and the location you'd like to open on the 16th Street Mall.
We are in the final week of a Kickstarter project with a goal of putting a paleo food stand on the 16th Street Mall by April. We've raised almost $12k already, and we just closed on a 200-250 person wedding in Silverthorne this July! The bride decided to pay part of the catering deposit on our Kickstarter, but only as a matching pledge to what we can raise organically between now and midnight on Wednesday, January 30. So each dollar raised between now and then will be matched (up to $3,500) by this lovely couple from Denver, now living in Chicago, who have asked to remain anonymous. So if people pledge between now and Wednesday, it will be doubled! We even have the best of the best Denver comics supporting our Kickstarter project: Ben Roy and Adam Cayton-Holland are giving out signed copies of their comedy CDs for promo purposes.
Can you describe what inspired you to be a small-business owner in addition to an up-and-coming comic? Is there much overlap between these interests?
I knew when I separated from the Army that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I didn't want to have a boss...ever. Comedy is much the same. You don't have a boss, just a reaction. The crowd tells you in real time if your material is good or not. They either laugh or they don't; there is no confusion. It's the same way in business. People either like what you're doing and buy your product, or they don't like it -- and you go out of business.
Where can readers find the Caveman Cafeteria these days?
Once our Kickstarter succeeds (which it will), we will be on the 16th Street Mall seven days per week. The Downtown Denver Partnership will determine the exact location, but we're hoping for 16th and California. For now, we'll regularly have our food truck at places that we think are great. Thursday nights we're at Black Shirt Brewery on 37th and Walnut. Friday nights we're at Infinite Monkey Theorem, an incredible urban winery on 32nd and Larimer. Saturday night and Sundays we're always at Mile High Spirits, which is kind of our home away from these days, on 29th and Larimer. We also cater quite a bit, from private parties to office lunches to weddings, so you can always hire us to come to you.
How do you feel Caveman stands out from Denver's booming mobile food scene?
The mobile food scene in Denver is incredible, and we are so proud to be a part of it. Obviously, we stand out as the only food truck that specializes in a paleo approach to eating, which is also gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, etc.... In other words, if we cater your event, you don't have to worry about peanut allergies, lactose intolerance, etc.... Everything is paleo, and thus has no allergens by default. This makes things easier for party planners who don't have to worry about dietary restrictions anymore.
Most important, our food is so delicious that nobody will miss the gluten-laden sugar bombs that most food services provide anyway! And since people know that they are eating healthy, they can loosen up and drink a bit more, which makes any party better!
Find out more about Caveman Cafeteria's Kickstarter campaign on its Kickstarter link
Interested in seeing White perform standup? He'll be at Comedy Works in Larimer Square on Wednesday, February 6, as part of the Funny Final Four showcase. (Full disclosure: This writer is performing on the same show.)
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