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Dos Gringos

Greg Masse

CARBONDALE – The burrito business is booming in ‘Bonedale. Dos Gringos Burritos, which includes the coffee bar Cafe has almost doubled its sales in the past year, owners Julie and Nelson Oldham report. The restaurant, located at the south end of the La Fontana Plaza off Highway 133, serves up Mexican food, margaritas and mocha java, all while keeping the community in mind. Julie Oldham, one of the two gringos from whom the restaurant derived its name, said she thinks the 3-1/2-year-old restaurant has become popular because it offers great food that’s served up quickly.

“Our goal from the start was to have a place that provides extremely high-quality food, but really quickly,” she said. “You don’t have to wait and everything’s completely homemade.”As customers walk into the restaurant, they might notice the two dummies sitting on a chairlift that’s suspended from the ceiling, the Mexican blankets hanging from the heating and air conditioning ducts or the false roof frame above Café Olé. But the Oldhams hope that when customers walk out, they remember the delicious food and fast, friendly service. “I guess that’s the main thing, that homemade-from-scratch quality,” Julie Oldham said. The newest feature at the restaurant is the availability of wireless Internet for its customers, which was turned on about a month ago. For a donation of $5 or so, customers can eat, have an espresso and surf the net. “Customers are asking for it,” said Nelson Oldham, the other gringo. “My sort of business theory is, ‘What’s good for the customer is good for me.’ I want them to feel it’s their place because I want them to come back.”

Oldham said he’s gone to great lengths to use organic “fair trade” coffee in his shop. He said the coffee industry has for years been notorious for treating its workers poorly, so he only deals with companies that purchase coffee from growers that treat their employees fairly. Closer to home, Oldham said he does all he can to help out good causes in town. “We do a lot of community stuff with (the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities),” he said. Examples of the restaurant’s community-mindedness are when it stays open late for Roaring Fork Rams football games, hosts bingo games for public radio station KDNK, has a special deal for high school students and donates gift certificates for all kinds of area charities. The Oldhams also are thinking about adding a movie night.

Cafe manager Irene Ortiz has been employed at the restaurant since she helped the Oldhams open the coffee shop about a year ago. “It’s not stressful. The main thing is I love the people,” she said. For more information on Dos Gringos Burritos, call 704-0788. Contact Greg Masse 945-8515, ext. 511gmasse@postindependent.com.


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