After chefs Rachel Talady and Randy Reynolds met and fell in love while working in a restaurant kitchen, their relationship helped foster the development of a new, creative endeavor. Enter The Savage Beet
, a chef-driven, plant-based street food concept that aims to make vegan food approachable for everyone.
Originally from Wisconsin, Talady stumbled upon Colorado after traveling around the country on a lengthy RV trip with her kids that ended in Estes Park. She (and the kids) immediately fell in love with the town and have lived there ever since.
Talady began working in the food industry at age fourteen, when she landed a job at McDonald's, continuing to land a variety of front- and back-of-house positions throughout her life. When she landed in Estes Park, she looked to the restaurant scene for a new gig. "[Randy] was a chef at the restaurant, and I had applied for the serving job," she recalls. "We ended up starting to date and ended up falling in love, like really fast."
Shortly after their relationship started, the two began talking about their professional futures. "We realized that we both had this dream of not working for other people," Talady says. "Having our own hours, having our own menu. We wanted to do our own things, because that's really hard in the restaurant industry. You get some creativity, but you also are stuck with what they want on their menu."
Prior to meeting, each had also dreamed of owning a food truck. "We were both lacking a strong partner," Talady admits. "We knew that we couldn't do it alone. So when we came together, we kind of just talked about it very casually." Then the pandemic hit, and two decided to leave Estes Park and move to Denver for more opportunities.
For Randy Reynolds and Rachel Talady, love led to the opening of the Savage Beet.
The Savage Beet/Instagram
They both worked a few jobs to get by, but realized they wanted more. "And then we decided, why don't we just start saving up some money and let's see where our relationship goes," Talady remembers. "After talking about it out loud, we started talking about it to other people. At that point, you gotta realize you have to commit to this, because now I've said it out loud."
Things quickly fell into place. "It happened so fast, and everything came together," Talady says, "which is why we say on our food truck 'universally supported,' because everything just kind of felt like the right truck, the right logo, the right everything fell into our hands, because that's what we have manifested."
The name and logo came together when the two found a beet sticker and had been joking around about Reynold's shared first name with pro wrestler Macho Man Randy Savage. Thus the Savage Beet was born, hitting the road in April.
Reynolds notes that the focus on plant-based foods is inspired by Talady. "For me, I wanted to collaborate and make use of our skills and abilities to complement one another and create a menu that bursts with flavor while also bringing together world foods," Reynolds explains. "She's more like a Middle Eastern flavor; she's got those down. And she also brings a little Asian flavor. Me, I'm Mexican flavors; that's kind of my specialty. So we incorporated different styles of cooking from those regions and developed a core menu, but we change it up with weekly specials depending on what vegetables are available."
Savage Beet spread: Five Spice Asian Tacos, Bombay Brussels, Quesadilla Suertes and Korean BBQ Sliders.
That core menu includes items like the Quesadilla Suerte ("luck" in Spanish) made from crispy corn masa that's stuffed with black beans and summer squash and topped with chipotle aioli; and the fried Bombay Brussels tossed in a mango curry chutney and topped with Moroccan pepitas. Five-spice Asian tacos and Korean barbecue sliders are staples, as well. With so much flavor and textural variety, the fare satisfies even the staunchest meat eaters.
Although people may be weary of vegan food, Talady wants them to think about the Savage Beet differently. "Personally, I want people to not put us in that category of vegan food," she says. "Come and try this chef-inspired food. We are going to wow people when they try our food."
Currently, the truck is operating primarily in the late afternoon and early evening at different spots across the Denver metro area, but Talady and Reynolds are planning to roll out a breakfast menu soon. And the future plans don't end there. "The dream is to one day open a little coffee shop. We would have the food truck parked out front. The food truck is our restaurant, and then we would have a coffee shop where people can come park and eat," Reynolds says.
It seems likely that the universe will support that dream, too. Until then, though, follow @thesavagebeet
on Instagram to find the truck's location.