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For four years, fans have cued up at the Verde food truck to savor Sonoran-style dishes. (Per Verde’s website, Sonoran cuisine translates to food “derived from the Sonoran desert in northern Mexico, southern Arizona, and southern California”). While co-owners T. J. Ingraham, John Sethney, Brandon Miller, and K.C. Slager obviously loved the crowds, they found the truck’s storage space limiting. Thus began their search for a brick-and-mortar location to better serve the growing clientele. Making the shift from food truck to full service restaurant, however, can be tricky. We caught up with Brandon Miller to see how the transition to the four-month-old Verde restaurant on 28th Street is going.
5280: What’s been the toughest aspect of moving from truck to brick-and-mortar?
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Miller: Being consistent with every part of running a restaurant—from timing our service in the front-of-the-house to plating dishes the exact same way every time. It’s different from running the truck where people walk away with their food after they order.
5280: Your space looks completely different from when Tangier Moroccan used to occupy this location. Tell me about the changes.
Miller: We did a total makeover of this place, including knocking down a lot of walls to turn it into a fresh, hip spot that works for both families and the diners in Boulder. Now we have a flexible space for big groups and for people who just want a seat at our bar.
5280: What do you think sets you apart from other Mexican restaurants in Boulder?
Miller: Our Sonoran-style food is fresh and straightforward; we really do our best to find the best possible ingredients. Take our tortillas: I sampled more than 100 different tortillas and our favorites were the ones from Tucson that we bring in to build our burritos. They are so thin and fresh, they stretch around our burritos—the texture as it hugs the ingredients is just amazing. The burritos are also stuffed with pure protein and not a lot of filler.
5280: What advice would you share with other food truck owners looking to make the same kind of move?
Miller: [It’s] so great to have a permanent kitchen that’s all our own, but you really have to do the numbers to decide if you can afford the extra overhead. I love our new spot on 28th Street, but you have to work hard to help people see our location that is set back a little from the street. You have to have great reasons for people to look up from their commute and come inside. Once they get here, though, I’m sure they’ll come back for more.
3070 28th St., Unit B, Boulder, 720-470-4348