From Food Trucks to Food Halls: Comida Comes Home
It all started with a big pink food truck named Tina. That was back in 2010 when food trucks were illegal in most of Colorado, so Rayme Rossello, owner and founder of Comida, was a pioneer in a movement that has taken off since. It was also a time when you couldn’t find a taco truck on every corner or fusion tacos on every menu. “Yes, there was cheesy, refried bean–filled Mexican and Southwestern food, but there just wasn’t good, fresh Mexican,” Rayme says.
The Comida food truck served up from-scratch bites of Mexican soul food that were affordable and worth standing out in the cold for. With the help of social media, people found Tina and waited in long lines for tacos. While the low overhead of a food truck appealed to Rayme, it was hard to make a living.
“It seemed like a food truck would be less expensive than opening a restaurant, but it wasn’t.” —Rayme Rossello
So Rayme went back to where it felt like home: a restaurant. She had worked in the kitchens of Jax and Q’s in Boulder and Denver before becoming a partner in Proto’s Pizza. Rayme incorporated what she was doing with the food truck into her first Comida cantina in the Prospect neighborhood in Longmont. The mission remained to serve simple food that’s made from scratch and serve it in an environment that feels like home.
Comida’s cantina menu fuses the flavors of Mexican street food with Southern comfort food, like slow-cooked pork carnitas over sweet potato mash with pineapple habanero salsa. It’s a blend of Rayme’s Southern upbringing and her love of fresh Mexican flavors. “These two flavors from my past are good friends, so I blend them into Comida. I think it works well,” Rayme says.
Comida’s fans agreed and came out to the Longmont cantina. But being tucked away off a main street was challenging, and ultimately, Rayme closed that location.
In 2013, she found a new home and a new community in an old, repurposed steel foundry in what was soon-to-become the thriving food and arts scene now known as the RiNo neighborhood. Being the pioneer, Rayme was the first person to sign the lease at The Source when there was nothing on Brighton Boulevard but abandoned warehouses. Being the visionary, Rayme saw the potential of a food hall concept.
When she opened the colorful Comida at The Source, the cantina had lines out the door. The crowds kept coming until a two-year construction project on Brighton Boulevard made The Source hard to access. Comida at The Source made it through that challenging time and Rayme even expanded to another food hall-like spot at the community-inspired Stanley Marketplace out in Aurora in 2016.
People are now returning to The Source and discovering Comida at Stanley Marketplace, but Rayme is still always looking to keep costs down. “The cost of every single thing in the business has gone up in the last five years,” she says. “Labor is our biggest cost and also our biggest asset that I will not cut, so I need to save money any way I can and FoodMaven helps with that.”
Rayme partnered with FoodMaven after learning about this new, affordable way for restaurants to source food while being more sustainable. “That was appealing to me, and it’s definitely a part of our mission at Comida to not overfeed people or waste food,” she says. “Each day, we cook only what we need, so we don’t throw away food.”
Rayme adds that “anything that you can get from a major broad-line distributor, you can get from FoodMaven.” She also like how the FoodMaven Marketplace offers her the opportunity to try different things.
We’re glad Comida has found a home in Denver and become part of the FoodMaven family.