"Everyone has a connection with crockpots, whether it's sitting on top of your refrigerator collecting dust, or it's something that your mom or grandmother used while you were growing up," says Stephen Daniels.
Daniels, who was living in New York when the idea of crock pot cooking seeped into his brain, moved to Denver in 2008, reconnected with Mandy Birks, a longtime friend and certified life coach, and together, the two hatched the Crock Spot, which launched in May at the Cherry Creek Farmers' Market. "I wanted to be an entrepreneur, and I've always had an interest in food -- food makes people happy -- and there's instant gratification when you serve people food that they love, so that's what we decided to do," explains Daniels.
And now, the mobile street food kitchen that also appears at the Stapleton Farmers' Market and at Great Divide Brewery, 2201 Arapahoe Street on Sundays, is bringing its slow-cooked meats to Tiri's Garden, the makeshift street food pod at 15th and California streets this Wednesday and Thursday afternoon. Tiri's is an assemblage of several carts and trucks cranking out everything from cupcakes and pizza to tacos and liquid nitrogen ice cream.
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He and Birks serve the meats -- chicken, pork, lamb and beef -- with healthy grains, including pearl barley, quinoa and brown rice. The dishes are then crowned with one of four different sauces -- chimichuri, chipotle sour cream, tzatziki or a spicy garden gravy -- and topped with scallions and Beefsteak tomatoes. There's a curried lentil and hominy vegetarian plate, too. "We have an option for everyone," says Daniels, adding that he and Birks are planning to incorporate additional grain choices and sauces down the line.
They're currently on the hunt for a truck, as well. "We're looking to get a truck within the next two months, and when we do, we'll probably expand the menu to include more sauces and grains, vegetarian and vegan options, and we'll also have a couple of specialty items," says Daniels.
And then he's setting his his sights on a restaurant. "I love that we're getting in on the ground floor of the mobile food movement, but ideally, I'd love to have to do a restaurant that we can franchise -- something similar to the Chipotle model," Daniels says. "We've seen a lot of success with what we're currently doing and people are looking at us with a lot of interest, so a restaurant is definitely something that I'd like to see come to fruition0."
In the meantime, the Crock Spot will make its first appearance at Tiri's Garden on Wednesday, September 22.