A Fine Dining Chef Is Behind Colorado Food Truck the G Wagon | Westword

Meet Jordan Alley, the Fine-Dining Chef Behind the G Wagon Food Truck

Before opening Stone Cellar Bistro in Arvada last year, Jordan Alley launched this food truck, which specializes in sandwiches.
The G Wagon hit the streets five years ago.
The G Wagon hit the streets five years ago. Chris Byard
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Jordan Alley knew he wanted to be a chef at four years old. Now the owner of food truck the G Wagon, as well as Stone Cellar Bistro, a restaurant that debuted in Arvada last year and landed on our list of the ten best new restaurants of 2022, he recalls having a hard time in school as a kid.

"I'm super dyslexic. It took me forever just to learn how to read and stuff, but I could do food," says the Colorado native.

When he was a senior in high school, he ventured to Breckenridge one weekend to pick up his cousin from camp and happened to see a sign for Colorado Mountain College. "I wonder if they have a culinary school," he recalls thinking. It did, in Keystone, so Alley applied and, "I literally graduated high school on my eighteenth birthday, and two weeks later, I was there," he remembers.

Although he admits that he struggled at times during the three-year culinary apprenticeship program, he gained a tremendous amount of experience in the process. "As part of the program, they move you through all the restaurants in Keystone every six months. ... Basically, all of Keystone and Vail Resorts' fine-dining restaurants are run by apprentices of Colorado Mountain College," he explains. Plus, he got in a lot of snowboarding.

After he graduated, he moved to Las Vegas to work at Bouchon under acclaimed chef Thomas Keller. Following a year-long stint, he returned to Colorado and further honed his culinary skills at Alex Seidel's Fruition before returning to a restaurant in Keystone as a sous chef.
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The Sweet Pig sandwich (bottom) and the Denver Cheesesteak (top) with green chiles.
Chris Byard

"I left [Keystone] and traveled around Europe with my wife for a summer, and then came back and started working at Z Cuisine. That's where I met my now-business partner, Brandon Kerr," Alley notes.

Before getting into business together, though, Kerr moved to Charleston and worked as the chef de cuisine at Sean Brock's Husk, while Alley stayed in Denver, taking a job at the now-closed Colt & Gray. Although it would be years before the two reunited, Alley's experience during that time set the stage for their future.

"I kind of got treated like shit [at Colt & Gray]. I was there for the walkout. The owner was in Tulum, Mexico, at a pop-up for Noma, and nobody got their paychecks. So we were just like, all right, we're not working," he recalls. "Then I went and worked on a food truck, and I was like, 'I'm buying a food truck.'"

In 2018, he ordered a custom trailer from out of state. "My mentor, Kevin, and I drove to Georgia and back in two days with the new trailer. My brothers helped me put all the equipment in it, and I just started getting into breweries and doing stuff," Alley says.

"The name came about from a culinary influence of mine," he continues. "His name was Granger. He died of leukemia five years ago, and me and Kevin were in Portland for his funeral," says Alley, recounting the story of the two making a wrong-way turn onto a one-way street while smoking weed. "There are cops everywhere, and I'm rolling up the window as fast as I can, and Kevin goes, 'Thanks G.' And I was like, 'Let's park this smoke wagon.'" And so the G Wagon was born. 
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The G Wagon often has specials like fried chicken.
Chris Byard

Now in its fifth year, the truck's standard menu includes hand-cut fries, which can be smothered with green chile and cheese, as well as five sandwiches. Options include the Denver Cheesesteak with green chiles, onion, provolone and G Sauce on an Amoroso roll; and the Sweet Pig, a toasted hoagie topped with slow-roasted pork shoulder, fresh apple, apple butter, mixed greens and warm Brie.

It also serves a variety of rotating specials. "I wanted to cook stuff that I like, just anything that I'm excited about," Alley explains. On a recent day, fried chicken made an appearance on the menu. Before that, it was shrimp rolls.

While he loves operating the G Wagon, Alley reached a point last year when he wanted something more. After looking at over a dozen spaces, he found one in Olde Town Arvada thanks to a tip from his aunt, and began working on opening his own fine-dining restaurant.

The venture prompted him to reach out to his old friend Kerr, who was still in Charleston. "I called Brandon and was like, 'If I buy a restaurant, you moving back?'" he remembers. "He was like, 'Yeah,' and hangs up. Three days later, I called him and was like, 'I bought a restaurant.' He's cooking at Husk at the time, and you just hear him go 'Fuck!' and slam the phone down."

Shortly after, Alley traveled to Charleston to pick up Kerr, and the two opened Stone Cellar Bistro last June. But, Alley assures, the G Wagon is here to stay. The team even has plans to launch another truck in the future.

To find the G Wagon's upcoming schedule, visit thegwagon.com.
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