Aspen’s Popcorn Wagon gets a makeover |

Aspen’s Popcorn Wagon gets a makeover

Katie ReddingThe Aspen TimesAspen CO, Colorado
The Popcorn Wagon, Aspen's most popular late-night eatery, is being renovated and will return with a new menu. (Jordan Curet/The Aspen Times)

ASPEN The Popcorn Wagon across from the Wheeler Opera House an Aspen icon since at least the 1960s soon will be replaced by a replica.The original wagon was built in 1913, according to co-owner Dena Marino, and its time is up.It was crumbling. The floor fell through, she said. It wasnt dirty, but it was old and corroded.The wagon was once stationed where the Paradise Bakery now stands, but it has been at its present location for 30 or 40 years, serving popcorn and fare ranging from gyros to crepes, often until the wee hours of the morning.Though he originally wanted to restore it, Marcus Wade, Marinos husband and co-owner, said the wagon had suffered too many improvements. In the nearly 100 years of its existence, its 15 or so owners had each done their own patchwork changes, said Marino.So Wade and friend Mike Dormer took the wagon apart, measured the pieces, then began welding a replica. They hope to build benches out of the original metal.They expect the project to take about a month, as long as inquisitive passers-by on the busy corner dont delay his work.The old wagon itself isnt the only thing being replaced. The most recent menu of gyros and crepes will be replaced by an Italian menu featuring piadinas, pizza crusts with spreads that Marino said are popular street fare in Italy. The new Italian menu will also include desserts such as gelato, tiramisu and sorbetto.The new Popcorn Wagon will no longer be open until the wee hours of the morning; once ready, the wagon will serve food from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., every day.In keeping with its name, the Popcorn Wagon will continue to serve popcorn, now out of a new kettle-corn machine.Marino and Wade arent sure exactly when theyll be done, but say the project cant go beyond the Food & Wine Magazine Classic on June 13, since festival events will be held at the wagon.In the meantime, Wade will keep his welding helmet on if only to avoid the countless questions from pedestrians.Its so crazy how people are in this town, he said, how stuck they are on this

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