After years of managing restaurants, Scott Skiba wanted one of his own, but building a brick-and-mortar isn't cheap, so Skiba, a former manager of Waterloo, a bar/restaurant in Louisville, went the way that several other chefs and restaurateurs have gone: mobile.
A few months ago, Skiba took a trek to Wyoming, and when he came back to Denver, he was lugging a full-sized Airstream trailer that he bought for $3,000 and change. And two weeks ago, on October 15, he started hustling Mexican food just off East Colfax and Marion, in front of Tooey's Off Colfax. "After working in restaurants for so long, I was ready to do my own thing, and doing a mobile food truck is a fraction of the price of owning a restaurant, so that made the most sense," says Skiba.
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The gleaming silver trailer, named Paseo, turns out a short board of tacos, the meats of which are tucked into fresh flour or corn tortillas, plus chilaquiles, empanadas and Mexican biscuits and gravy -- a house-baked flour tortilla biscuit, deep-fried, stuffed with Mexican cheeses and crowned with chorizo gravy, a fried egg and salsa. "I lived in Austin, Texas and California, where there's great Mexican food that isn't smothered in green chile, and I wanted to do something here that focused on Tex-Mex and Californian Mexican food, which has more of a street taco-like feel," explains Skiba.
Everything is scratch-made on the truck, which, says Skiba, is what sets him apart from the competition. "We do all of our prep on the truck and we have a walk-in, so everything is fresh, and we don't use a commissary kitchen." He makes his empanadas fresh every morning; his killer salsas, of which there are four, are whipped up daily, as are the cremas that he drizzles on his tacos. "Our concentration is not just on serving street food, but on making this a real dining experience for people by using fresh ingredients and making everything to order."
But Skiba hasn't stopped there: The trailer sports an awning that runs from one end to the other, essentially creating a makeshift patio, and on cooperative weather days, Skiba plans to haul out picnic tables. "We want to make this a place where people can actually sit down to eat as opposed to eating on the run," notes Skiba.
Beginning tomorrow, Skiba will start serving lunch at various addresses around the city, including Civic Center Park, where he'll plunk down every Wednesday until the end of the year. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, you can find the trailer sidelining the sidewalk just outside Tooey's, and at the stroke of 10 a.m. tomorrow, Skiba will be doling out Mexican grub at 900 South Broadway. To follow the trailer's roving whereabouts, keep checking Paseo's Facebook page, or follow it on Twitter @paseodenver.