You’ve probably seen a bright red truck parked downtown at 11th and Main, bearing the alliterative Bounty for the Belly logo; a girl in a straw hat and plaid shirt sitting jauntily atop a giant apple, the outlines of a knife and meat fork behind her. Kelsy Peabody is this truck’s owner, manager and sole employee. She presents one of the tragically few food truck options in Durango, parked in the same lot as Mariano’s Indonesian/Thai food truck (it’s yellow), and Tom, who doesn’t have a truck but makes Philly cheese steaks under a tent. There’s nary a sandwich shop downtown, and few non-restaurant spots from which to grab a quick bite – but here comes Bounty to the rescue. We chatted with Peabody about how business is going, her eventual restaurant hopes and what’s on the menu.
When did you set up?I moved to Durango on Memorial Weekend of last year, and it took a year to get things up and running because of all the rules and regulations. It was difficult, but I feel like the city is way more on board with it now than they were. I think some of the brick and mortar restaurants had scuffs about it in the beginning. They think food trucks can just pull up and start cooking food, but that’s not the case. We have to go through the health department, the fire department, the city. We have to do all the permitting, the same as any other place. They’re like, ‘Oh, you don’t have to pay property tax.’ But I do! I’m paying a landlord to be parked here. Places like Homeslice, Zia and Cream Bean Berry all started small. Katie [Burford] from Cream Bean was selling ice cream out of a little cart, then went up to the school and had a commissary at the fairgrounds. Homeslice literally built a building around their food truck on the north side of town. They all started like that, then realized it wasn’t the best route for this area. You have to have foot traffic. Durango is not like Portland, where people are like, ‘Let’s go to the food truck court.’ It’s not a destination. You have to embed it in people’s brains.
Is a restaurant your eventual hope?Yeah. It would be good to make a name for myself first. I come from a restaurant background, my parents owned a restaurant in Detroit for 41 years, and I was the chef there for 10.
When are you open? Monday through Friday 11 to 4. And starting last week through the end of September, I have gigs booked every weekend as a food vendor.
How is business?It’s good. There’s a lot of regular customers. You see a lot of familiar faces, and I feel like word of mouth is traveling quickly. It helps to do those outside events because they recognize your logo and it jogs their memory. It’s been a little over two and a half months that I’ve been open. I didn’t know what to expect, because there’s not a lot of people here to base it off of. Social media is a pretty scary but phenomenal thing. Just yesterday there was a guy who hadn’t even left the parking lot – he sat and ate here and then got in his car – and was already writing a review. Which is awesome! That local presence, people wanna tell their friends about where they had a great meal.
Why did you open in Durango? I went to culinary school in Denver. I’m not a city girl, and I wanted to figure out how to get back to the mountains and not deal with all the hustle and bustle. And coming from a smaller suburb outside of Detroit and being in the family restaurant business, you understand how you have to work within a community to be a small business owner. I felt like Durango would be a pretty cool spot to dive headfirst into community involvement. People are totally on board with the local produce and local meats.
So your food is locally grown?Yeah. I’m working with a couple different farms around here. Buying chuck from James Ranch that’s going in the pot roast sandwich. Getting chicken sausage from Gosar in Monte Vista.
How did you construct your menu? It’s small, since I have a small space to work out of. I wanted to cover all the bases. They’re all more than enough food for what people say is a great price. You get a sandwich that will fill you up for $8 or $9. And I have a Brussel sprout salad, which a lot of people ask about and they’re like, ‘I don’t know how I feel about brussel sprouts ...’ and then they dive right in and say, ‘I’m gonna tell everyone about it.’ And I’m doing a chilled gazpacho, so kind of a healthy, refreshing soup for the summer. The menu seems to be working for now, and it’ll change with the seasons.
Will you be open in the winter?Yes, but in a different spot. With permitting you’re only allowed to be in one spot for six months, so I have to move at the end of October.
Anya Jaremko-GreenwoldThis interview has been edited lightly for clarity and space.