Aspen man hopes to ﬁll late-night delivery void
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
ASPEN – Late-night food options are somewhat limited in Aspen, especially with regard to deliveries after 10 p.m. But a 29-year-old entrepreneur is trying to change that.
Derek Koster, a Durango-born, Glenwood Springs-raised resident who has lived in Aspen for the past eight years, has started a 10 p.m.-to-3 a.m. free delivery service based out of a shared catering facility off North Mill Street. It’s called Wally’s Aspen and is named after his grandfather.
It’s a fledgling operation, about three weekends old, but Koster said it’s off to a good start. He’s offering seven kinds of sandwiches, Asian cuisine, Mexican fare and various types of munchies and breakfast foods. Prices range from $1 for bottled water to $12.85 for the teriyaki rice bowl. A grilled-cheese sandwich runs $6.50, and the three-taco package goes for $9.99.
His delivery area loosely covers Aspen’s city boundaries and locations just outside of town. He chose his grandfather’s name for the business because he wanted to keep his identity intact.
“I didn’t want to be known as Derek of Derek’s,” he said. “We figured Wally’s is a great name; it’s comfortable and easy to remember and a homage to my grandfather, a fourth-generation Colorado native who taught me everything.”
Koster graduated from the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Ore. He has worked in the Vail area and also Aspen, in various restaurant kitchens, often rolling sushi. This is the first food operation he’s ever owned.
He found himself waiting tables recently, and it wasn’t a good fit.
“I have a mortgage now and needed that extra money. I put my hand in at waiting tables. It took one season for me to get the hell out of Dodge. I’m not a waiter – I’m a chef. I had to get myself back in the kitchen somehow,” Koster said.
He has two brothers helping him out, one as a delivery driver and the other as a bookkeeper. They fired up the operation at the end of the winter ski season purposely.
“We wanted to start with a focus on quality instead of quantity,” Koster said. “It gives me time to get feedback from local people, to tinker with my menu and fix what I need to for the summer.”
He said delivery times range from 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the location. The company’s largest clientele, so far, has been service-industry workers needing some food after closing but not wanting items from their own restaurants.
He said he’s not worried about the state of mind of his customers and the hassles that can be associated with providing food to locals and visitors who have been partying for several hours.
“That’s not an issue,” Koster said. “We want to continue the party atmosphere. We bring good things in bags.”
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