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Comida Cantina, a stationary counterpart to the Comida food truck, will soon land in Longmont

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After it got rolling in the summer of 2010, the mobile food movement really picked up speed, with new trucks hitting the pavement just about every week. Last spring Comida, a big, pink, Boulder-based taco truck (wo)manned by Rayme Rossello, a longtime member of the Boulder restaurant scene and one of the original partners in the Proto's Pizzerias, joined the rush.

Rossello soon collected a serious following, and now she's ready to expand and put down roots: the restaurateur will open Comida Cantina in Longmont come February.

Rossello signed a lease on a 1,900 square-foot spot on Confidence Drive in Prospect, and she's re-engineering it, if only slightly, to become an extension of her truck. "I'm taking over a space that was a sushi restaurant until about a month ago," she explains. "It's freakishly incredible how great the space was for the concept, down to the color scheme. It was really hard to say no to, and it's a neighborhood I lived in for a long time. It's a great first Comida Cantina, and eventually, I'd love to have two or three around the Front Range."

Including in Boulder, where she says she already looked at spots. When push came to shove, though, the cash required for a location in the Peoples' Republic was more than she was willing to pay.

Plus, at this location, Rossello says she has little more to do than hire a staff and put the licenses in place. She'll transfer the liquor license from the sushi joint, and she plans to have a full bar, including jalapeño and habañero-infused tequilas, Negra Modelo in a can, four flowing taplines and whiskeys and rums, too. "We'll also do licuados and fresh-squeezed juices," she says.

Her menu will also get a little extension, though she emphasizes that she's keeping things simple. "We're not doing burritos," she says. "We're not going to do enchiladas, and we're not the chile relleno capital of the world. I really want to focus on the things we've been focused on for the last year and a half." So she'll build on her board of seasonally oriented tacos and quesadillas, mixing up her menu on a daily basis as she does with the truck.

"We'll do whole roasted chicken dinners and add salads and desserts to the menu," she promises. "We'll do a cup of jicama with lime and chiles like in Mexico, and we'll do spicy pickled vegetables."

She also has big plans for Sunday brunches: "In my dreams, I'd love to do a 9 to 5 service that's old-style Mexican: long, leisurely, pork dinners and whole roasted chickens served family-style."

When Comida Cantina opens, it will initially do just dinner service and Mexican brunch, expanding into lunches after the joint finds its footing.

Rossello is excited about having more maneuvering room -- both in schedules and space. "The truck is great," she says. "But it's the hardest work ever, and you do the same amount of work with a smaller staff and for smaller reward. I'm looking forward to more depth."

That doesn't mean she'll garage the truck, though. "The restaurant will become the commissary," she says. "The truck will still go out and do everything that it does."

Look for the new space to open sometime around the middle of February.

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