Thirty years ago, long before the food truck made the jump from lonchera to gourmet movable kitchen, a Boulder couple was wheeling around in a vehicle called RollinGreens, serving up what they were then calling wholesome meals on wheels. And while they managed to generate plenty of buzz at the time, Joanne Saltzman and Bill Cunningham gave up the road when they started raising kids. Joanne went on to own the School of Natural Cookery in Boulder, and the pair instilled in their offspring a love of good food.
Now, three decades later, one of the kids is picking up the mobile torch: Ryan Cunningham and his girlfriend, Lindsey Mandel, introduced their own version of RollinGreens in Boulder just over a month ago.
"Ryan was a personal chef for years, and I love to cook," Lindsey explains. "We always wanted to own a restaurant. But I was talking to my sister in New York City, and she said, 'Why don't you guys start a mobile food truck?' And we decided to do it."
With conviction. Just two and a half months passed between the day the pair made that decision and the day RollinGreens rolled out onto the street, becoming Boulder's first fully equipped commercial kitchen on wheels.
"Our truck is our commissary, and we have everything a commissary has," explains Lindsey. Including the sinks and systems needed to appease the health department. The couple was able to accomplish that feat thanks to Ryan's training in architecture at the University of Colorado; once he drew up the plans, it took him and a builder just five weeks to gut a cargo trailer and install all the equipment.
And since RollinGreens is working with a fully operable kitchen where there's room to prep and the necessary appliances for real cooking, Lindsey, Ryan and their recently hired sous chef are able to make everything fresh to order.
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"Our stuffed poblano cheeseburger takes eight minutes," says Lindsey. "We're not just warming it up. We're actually making it right there." The menu at RollinGreens is an amalgamation of global cuisines, a board that the proprietors have pared down since their opening.
"We started with seventeen to twenty items, but that was too much," she explains. The focused list now includes gazpacho, a summer salad, deep-fried tacos topped with fresh vegetables and brisket, as well as a number of vegan-friendly offerings. Those items, Lindsay says, will change seasonally -- and also as they process feedback from fans.
RollinGreens has been operating in Boulder and the surrounding area for the last few weeks, but it's in the process of securing its license for Denver, too. You can find its daily stops on its Facebook page.