Eating Adventures

The Cozy Bean offers up coffee and smoothies from an old Volkswagen van

The expanding mobile food scene encompasses a bevy of trucks and carts, and now it includes a van. The 1970s Volkswagen van is called the Cozy Bean, and it's trolling Denver, fortifying patrons with coffee and smoothies.

"I was working in Golden," says Stiles Christner, who owns the mobile cafe. "I moved to Denver a couple of weeks ago for the bigger population."

Christner worked at the Press in Belmar while he was attending school in Denver, before he decided to do his own thing. So he picked up a van and had it outfitted with an espresso machine and blender in his home state of Texas, then moved back to Denver at the end of July to start serving drinks.

He calls the van a nomadic coffee shop, and he makes a full line of espresso drinks using beans from local roaster Coda Coffee. He also offers coffee, chai and fruity smoothies. At some point in the future, he plans to add pastries or some other easy-to-transport food.

In the meantime, "I'm talking to some of the other trucks," he says. "I plan on teaming up with some of them and working alongside them." Specifically, he cites the Denver Cupcake Truck. But right now, the Cozy Bean is making stops in front of welcoming office buildings downtown.

"I'm trying to get our name out there with Facebook and Twitter," says Christner. "There's a Starbucks on every corner down here. It's letting people know we're here and that we offer something different."

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk