Friday, April 12, 2024
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Food on the Move

Denver-based businesses are shaking up traditional mobile cuisine and coffee.

By Kate Linggi

Mobile food and beverage choices provide a unique range of options, and can create a level of convenience for event planners and attendees. We rounded up a list of tasty to-go options from liquid nitrogen mocktails and edible bubbles to infused cupcakes and aesthetic lattes.

Entertaining Experiments

Chef Ian Kleinman has always been fascinated by culinary science and dedicated to fashioning a guest-orientated experience. Through his business, Catering by The Inventing Room in Denver, Kleinman makes food creations the star of every show, impressing guests with liquid-nitrogen mocktails and a selection of food, some of which is delivered anywhere in the Denver area via Sweet Treat Drop Drones.

“I grew up in a restaurant that did tablesides,” Kleinman says. “I really paid attention to the guests. They get to see what’s happening behind the kitchen and get that entertainment.”

Chef Ian Kleinman with Catering by The Inventing Room

Catering by The Inventing Room

Catering by The Inventing Room uses molecular gastronomy and culinary techniques to create one-of-a-kind catering that focuses on demonstration and the science behind the processes. Liquid-nitrogen mocktails are a perfect example, as guests can enjoy a strawberry slushy while exhaling clouds of nitrogen vapor.

Themed Gobblefunk Dinners (named after Roald Dahl’s fictional language in the book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”) change monthly, offering four-course menus paired with mocktails.

Kleinman is constantly devising innovative approaches and “figuring out the science behind stuff,” he says. During the height of the pandemic, he tried out one of his ideas that was already years in the making: Sweet Treat Drone Drops deliver desserts directly to special events, no contact required. Even now, Catering by The Inventing Room uses drones to drop chocolate truffles or lollipops at the close of an event, making for a unique, sweet send-off.

There is also a storefront inspired by the 1971 movie “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” (based on Dahl’s book), The Inventing Room Dessert Shop, that creates magical and seemingly impossible treats in front of guests. Tickets are required for entry, with demonstrations beginning every hour and limited to 15 guests.

Customized For Corporate

Since opening 35 years ago, A Custom Look Events has operated with entertainment and interactive elements at the forefront. “It’s about the guest walking away with something that’s unique,” says Murray Englander, founder and director of operations.

Originally, A Custom Look entertained with instant photo magnets and buttons, and eventually food. From photo cookies, drink pics, and even edible balloons, A Custom Look aims for the unforgettable.

Edible balloons created by A Custom Look.

All Digital Photo & Video

“I have had people say that they still have their cookie hanging,” says Englander. “People may not always want a picture of themselves, but they will want one of their dog, cat, or grandkids [on the cookie].”

Celebrating With Sweetness

Tiffany Rose Goodyear created Yours Truly Cupcake in Denver as an ode to the tender act of giving someone a dessert.

“Our belief is that every sweet that has ever been given is always given with love,” says Goodyear. “It’s a love letter in the voice of a cupcake.”

With Yours Truly Cupcake, customers can make sweet treats uniquely their own. Everything on the menu is customizable from cookies and cupcakes to cake pops and brownies, including proposing a flavor that fits an occasion. If nothing suits your fancy, Yours Truly Cupcake will outsource desserts from elsewhere to make the customer experience above and beyond.

“It’s not about us, it’s about those who are giving and receiving the gift,” she says. “We’ll make our client’s favorite thing.”

Yours Truly Cupcake also creatively puts an adult spin on the desserts people loved as kids.

The business’s mobile cotton candy cart was a big hit during the early days of COVID-19 for drive-by birthday parties. Most notable is its nostalgic and universal approach, with flavors and portions appealing to a more mature audience. “We don’t do huge, size-of-your-head poofs, and we make them to order,” Goodyear says.

The cotton candy cart operated by Yours Truly Cupcake

Meredith Harris Photographers

Similarly, they have an extensive infused cupcake menu, with everything from margarita cupcakes to cupcakes that pair with wines. Yours Truly Cupcake also has a storefront that is open for walk-in customers. In addition, the company can create beautiful displays at events or serve cupcakes “cigar girl” style, meaning treats are walked around and served from classic boxes.

Convenient Coffee

Vanessa and Jonny Kupin believe there is something special about connecting with others over a cup of coffee. The former baristas became enamored with the art of coffee making, which led them to create Selah Coffee.

“We love how [coffee] connects people, and [enhances] how people gather. We thought, we need to make this mobile,” Vanessa says.

The couple aims to provide customers with an intimate, fulfilling experience amid a clean and minimalistic environment with a Scandinavian twist. However, they are primarily focused on the product.

“We wanted to focus on the quality of the coffee, not so much on the space,” she explains.

Selah serves a variety of traditional coffee drinks, including espressos and lattes, all brewed using Sonder Coffee, a Denver roaster. They also make syrups in-house and love creating beautiful latte art.

Selah Coffee making a latte

Nick Kupin

Above all, the most valuable part of their work is the personal interactions. “It’s cool to meet a ton of different people all over Denver,” Vanessa says. “We love getting to connect with people.”