Dig Into Denver Food Truck Bandwagon Sandwich Co. | Westword

Bandwagon Sandwich Co. Serves Mobile Eats With a Side of Rock and Roll

Owner Jerry Cass built the stage-inspired rig himself and every sandwich name is a musician-related pun.
Bandwagon is family owned and operated.
Bandwagon is family owned and operated. Chris Byard
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"I've been in food and music for most of my life," says Jerry Cass, owner of Bandwagon Sandwich Co., a mobile food trailer. "I played in bands forever, and when bands had to play gigs or tour, food was the only industry that would be flexible like that and used to losing people at the drop of the hat. ... So the two have always worked well together for me."

Born in Denver, Cass spent half of his childhood in rural Nebraska but made it a point to return to Colorado as soon as possible, spending most of his formative years touring and performing with bands while getting experience in the restaurant industry.

But that all changed once he and his bandmates started having kids. "We don't get to tour anymore; it's not what it used to be. I still fill in on occasion with other bands, and I have a little home recording studio. ... Call it a midlife crisis," he jokes. He also spent time working on food trucks.

When the pandemic hit and both the music and food industries screeched to a halt, Cass found himself unemployed. "I got kind of scared during COVID because it felt like I couldn't be a musician, I couldn't work on a food truck, and this was all I knew," he recalls. "It was like, did I just waste the last twenty years of my life? What am I going to do? And then we just kind of started plotting the plan."

He and his wife, Randi Paulin, began to consider launching a food truck of their own. "At the time, we had a terrible home loan," Cass says. "We were like, let's roll the dice. Let's cash out the equity of our house. Let's start our own food truck. We just figured, why not bet on ourselves? So scary."
click to enlarge a Reuben sandwich
Bandwagon's pastrami sandwich is called the Rick Reuben — "It'll make you famous!"
Chris Byard
While the initial idea was to buy an existing food truck and make it their own, the idea began to shift. "I thought, why not a trailer? And then why not open-air, and then why not build it myself? I had all the time in the world to think, and my ideas just spiraled out of control," explains Cass, who had a friend in the mechanical/welding business to whom he reached out for help. "He was like, 'I'm too backed up and you probably can't afford me, but if you bring your trailer to my shop and show up at 5:30 a.m., I'll teach you how to weld.' So I started showing up, and I built this trailer from the ground up."

As he worked on the truck, he started pitching concept ideas to his wife, who suggested incorporating his musical past and making the trailer look like a stage. Cass ran with the idea. "I started going through puns, and I was like, oh, my God, I can make a pun for every sandwich name. And then we just had to do it," he remembers.

In March 2022, Cass and Paulin officially launched Bandwagon Sandwich Co., the first music-themed open-air food trailer in Denver. It serves a variety of sandwiches that will satisfy true deli lovers.

The most popular menu items, Cass says, are the Philly sandwich, dubbed the Philly Collins, and the Rick Reuben, with pastrami and Thousand Island dressing. 

"We almost always have a special, and it's rarely on the menu," Cass adds. "So if you check us out, you can always ask, 'What else you got back there?' And we'll bring out a little secret menu action."

In addition to deli classics with some twists, Bandwagon delivers an inclusive menu with vegan and gluten-free options, as well as a variety of nachos. It also serves an award-winning grilled cheese, the Grill Smith, which it developed on the fly during the 2023 Mile High Grilled Cheese & Mac Fest. It's made with melted cheddar, steak, peppers, onion and homemade mild white green chile queso on sourdough.

Whatever you're craving, Bandwagon has a sandwich for you — and if you try the Philly Collins, the team is not responsible for any air-drum solos you may break into.

"Our first year was like, just don't go out of business. The second year was wild and crazy busy. And now we're getting ready to do big things," Cass says. "We're looking into a brick-and-mortar — we haven't really settled on anything completely, but growth has to happen one way or another this year. It might be another food truck, or it might be a food hall stand, but something will be happening."

To follow Bandwagon's journey and find its schedule, which it posts every Monday, follow it @bandwagon_sandwich_co on Instagram.
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