All summer long Nederland residents have seen the trailer parked in front of the former Ben’s Emporium next to the KwikMart Now and then they would see activity around the trailer and would stop to see what was going on. They were told that the trailer and the smoker were going to open as soon as the permits were completed, and then the Roasted Toad would offer barbecue, smoked pork and chicken.
Last Saturday, the smoker was fired up and soon the atmosphere around the roundabout was saturated with the tempting aroma of meat slowly cooking over oak and pecan. The window on the trailer was open, a menu hanging next to it and the stand was ready for business.
Owner Dave Walter says the stand might be a drive-up type restaurant, but it certainly wasn’t fast food; it took 10 hours to slow cook the meat to fork tender perfection, to allow the rich smoked flavor to permeate each bite. No, it wasn’t fast food, but it was ready to go. Two picnic tables are placed in the parking lot for those who want to eat on site.
As people pulled off the side of the highway and took a look at the menu, they couldn’t believe the prices, or just figured they would get measly portions. They were pleasantly surprised when their order of a $3.50 pulled pork sandwich consisted of a goodly amount of succulent pork on a kaiser roll. The smoked meat is cooked with a dry rub and the customer can add his own sauce. It is a good deal for a great sandwich. A platter is $7 and includes two sides with the sandwich.
Walter, originally from Illinois moved to Colorado in 1996 and was ensconced in the corporate world, working inside sales. “The job in the corporate world made money by it wasn’t any fun.”
He was living in Broomfield when his dad passes away. As Walter was growing up, his dad owned a grocery store and pig roasts were often on the menu. Walter learned how to smoke meat, make baked goods and cater events.
About three years ago, after working for Gates, he had save some money and decided to work part-time for Hog Heaven in Denver, working the Bronco games in the stadium booths. Now that was fun. “I learned how to do real barbecue.” And he did it well. The owner of Hog Heaven talked him into buying the smoker equipment.
At first he set up shop in Wheatridge, but there was a problem: Burger King didn’t want him there. He was familiar with the Nederland area, had camped here often and knowing he no longer wanted to be mobile, wanted a permanent site he decided to rent the empty building and the parking lot. That was a year ago.
“Boulder County is hard on trailers,” says Walter. “I had to do all underground wiring and build a grease trap and it took a while to get it all in place.”
He opened the drive up window on Saturday, Sept. 21. He had not advertised, or announced the fact that he was opening. But the taunting barbecue fragrance brought customers in, following their noses. He had five customers in half an hour. Many people stopped by to ask if he was open and said they’d be back.
Franz Frechette ordered a pulled pork sandwich and sat down at a picnic table to enjoy it. He ate thoughtfully and when he was finished, ordered another one. A woman stopped by one night to how it tasted and came back the next night to get dinner for her family. As the week progressed, they was hardly a time when there was no line at the window.
Walter says the oak and pecan wood are different and add a lot of flavor to the meat. He cooks the beans in the smoker and in the winter will add chili to the menu. He plans to be open on weekends for sure and maybe more, depending on the business. Business hours at 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
At some point, the kitchen in the building will be ready to use and he can expand the menu. He and one employee are running the stand.
Walter moved to Cold Springs around a year ago and he says he doesn’t plan on moving again. He is an outdoor enthusiast, loves to hike and ski and says his lunch business has been the most busy. He knows the success of his business depends on the locals.
“I am glad to finally be open. Sorry it took so long, but like the food, it’s worth the wait.”
Roasted Toad features smoked hog