Eating Adventures

The Vegan Van will hit the pavement in June

Amie Arias has been in the restaurant industry for years, but when she decided to start her own venture, she picked up an '86 Chevy Hi Cube with one goal in mind: to roll out a mobile enterprise hawking vegan treats -- and she's doing exactly that, even naming her new venture the Vegan Van.

"I wanted to do something vegan that's more accessible for people," she explains. "I live out in Jefferson County. And I'll be going into Denver, but we don't have anything like this out here."

Arias says her husband, Toby Houser, is doing all of the work on the van himself, sanding it down, painting it and outfitting it with a limited kitchen that will allow her to warm up the pastries she'll bake in the commissary kitchen.

"I'll be doing all the cooking, baking and woman-ing of the truck," she says. And she plans to offer a number of sweet treats, including cupcakes, cookies, peanut butter cups and peppermint patties in addition to savory empanadas and, potentially, quiche -- all of which will be vegan. And if things go really well, she hopes to roll out a second truck with a full kitchen from which she can serve breakfast and lunch.

The entrepreneur also says she was inspired by the Seabirds truck, the mobile vegan concept that hit Denver last weekend as part of the Great Food Truck Race. "It was really great to be able to talk to them and eat their food," she says. "Definitely an inspiration."

Arias is in the process of recipe testing and, weather permitting, her van should be ready to roll at the end of June. You can follow her progress on her Facebook page.

Follow @CafeWestword on Twitter

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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