Come lunch time during ski season, hungry skiers and riders flood across the Mountain Village core to grab quick bites from an array of food carts where micro-entrepreneurs test family recipes, incubate business ideas and showcase wares in spite of inclement weather. Last month Mountain Village officials approved permits for six food carts and one service cart to operate on Heritage and Sunset plazas this winter season.
“Two years ago we had four food carts and last winter we had five,” reported Mountain Village Community Engagement Coordinator Molly Norton. “The gyros cart is not back this season, but crepe, grilled cheese, Latin Creations, and Finnegans are all back. Our two new carts — Lady Bird Baking and La Colombiana — are both women-owned businesses.”
Camila Munoz Bayona launched La Colombiana because she feels “very connected and grateful to the Mountain Village community” where she’s lived for the past four years. She and two friends “who also love to cook” prepare all the food themselves out of Ghost Pocket Kitchen. They will serve Colombian meat, cheese, and chicken empanadas, cheese fingers, corn with various toppings and hot chocolate on Sunset Plaza, Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“In addition to having an entrepreneurial spirit, I’m starting this food cart business because I want to offer part of my gastronomic culture to this beautiful place,” Bayona said.
Finnegan’s cart, operated by Kevin Lawrence, will also operate on Sunset Plaza, offering a variety of charcoal grilled sandwiches.
The other newcomer to Mountain Village’s winter food cart scene is Lady Bird Baking owned by Heather Crane.
“Lady Bird has been a vendor at our Market on the Plaza in the summers, and we are excited to have them join us for the winter as a full-time vendor,” said Norton. “They will offer a morning option that currently doesn’t exist in the Village Center with grab and go pastries.”
Bertrand Marchal, who’s operated the longest-running food cart in MV — Place des Crepes — will set up shop for his 21st season on Heritage Plaza.
“Mountain Village has been doing a great job at making the plaza very pedestrian and kid-friendly and the addition of the gondola cabins is brilliant,” he said.
Marchal prepares crepe batter from scratch every morning in his commercial kitchen and three part-time employees operate the cart and cook the crepes. He believes his crepes are still the best bargain in town and says sweet crepes — including Nutella banana and raspberry — are his best-sellers.
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Marchal looks forward to “the smiles on kids’ faces and how the crepes make people happy.”
Having operated his Latin Creations food cart for the past year and a half, Alberto Tames and his wife, Aggie, also return to Heritage Plaza with their cart near the small kitchen where he prepares all his offerings using family recipes. Specialties include birria — slow cooked chuck beef with chiles and spices — and his best-selling carne asada. Latin Creations will operate Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“Thank you for the opportunity to share our love of food in such an amazing place,” Tames said.
Scott Jacobs has operated his grilled cheese cart since 2019 in Elks Park in Telluride during the summer. These days he only operates his Grilled Cheese & Silver Creek Rico cart on Heritage Plaza during the winter season from 11a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
“The people in Mountain Village are great — tourists, locals — and the town government is extremely helpful,” he said.
Jacobs makes all the food himself and works the cart on his own, serving his best-selling classic — plain yellow grilled cheddar sandwich — and his brie and apricot sandwich to “die-hard fans.”
“My new Pig Wiggle Sandwich — loaded grilled cheese topped with half a pulled pork sandwich — is also a big favorite,” added Jacobs.
The only service vendor — Wax Guru — a ski-in/ski-out, slopeside wax station, operates on Mountain Village Plaza from 8:30 a.m.to 6 p.m. daily, offering hot wax by hand, edge sharpening and minor base repairs tailored specifically for current ski conditions in as little as 15 minutes.
The MV winter vending cart season runs from Oct. 15 through May 14. Vending is required from the day the ski area opens on Nov. 24 until the ski area closes on April 2. Vendors must operate a minimum of five days per week, four hours per day.
]Meanwhile, in the Town of Telluride, two businesses applied for winter vending cart permits last month and both will operate on Oak Street Gondola Plaza this winter. Xan Sanders will oversee a temporary ski storage rack while Bertha Guerrero will operate a Mexican food cart.
“We typically don’t have more than one or two vendors in the winter because it’s so cold,” explained Piper Miller, assistant clerk with the Town of Telluride. “They always ask for the Gondola Plaza because of the foot traffic.”
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