TONIGHT! Moving Mountains: The Making of Rayback Collective

Image courtesy of the Rayback Collective

This is a a re-post of a previous Boulder Source article about Boulder Food Truck Park, now called the Rayback Collective, which is officially opening tonight!

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To hear co-founder, Matt Patrick, describe the Rayback Collective, visions of German beer gardens emerge.

Only, the Rayback Collective scene is decidedly Americana, flavored by our new-found passion for food trucks. Add local craft beers flowing freely, and the rendering is pure Boulder.

Matt Patrick, Boulder Food Park co-founder. Photo courtesy Boulder Food Park

Matt Patrick, Rayback Collective co-founder. Photo courtesy Rayback Collective

And, now it’s pretty much a sure deal since Patrick and partners, Hank Grant and Justin Riley, are set to bring vision to reality.

That’s when Boulder’s Planning Board decided to allow a tavern to be associated with the coming food pod at 2775 Valmont, where the City already has granted a variance so food trucks can legally congregate—within defined limitations.

The idea is supported by a local following that not only can’t wait, but put their money down early, when 157 Kickstarters pledged over $44,000 in less than 30 days to make this dream a reality.

What Gets People So Amped?

“It’s a match made in heaven,” says Matt Patrick on a recent podcast, Brewski-Reviewski with Casey Bloyer and Connor Shreve.

“Trucks bring people outside, beer and food bring people together,” says Patrick, who is also a pastor at The Well Church, 1301 High Street in Boulder.

Customers can expect Rayback Collective to host up to four food trucks initially, on a rotating basis. Electrical access to food truck sites will be provided, eliminating noise and fumes caused by generators. Indoor seating will be available, making the venue operable even during inclement weather—a major shortcoming food trucks face today.

Plans are to be open year-round from lunch through dinner, except for select holidays.

Sampling of food trucks rotating through the Rayback Collective

“Many food trucks are run by great chefs with a dream and an entrepreneurial spirit – they’re laying it all on the line and we want to support the work they are doing,” Patrick says.

Some of the craft beers tapped to stock the tavern at Boulder Food Park. Courtesy Boulder Food Park

Some of the craft beers tapped to stock the tavern at Boulder Food Park. Courtesy Rayback Collective

Food trucks slated to be onsite are numerous, ranging from longtime favorites Verde and Sebs Wood-Fired Pizza, or newcomer, The French Twist.

The Inspiration

The idea for Rayback Collective came to Patrick after walking the streets while visiting San Francisco.

“I saw food truck pods and little bars and I thought ‘someone should put these together.’ I talked to my buddy, Hank Grant, and told him we should do this. That was just over a year ago,” recalls Patrick.

And what a full year it was.

During that time, co-founders listened to neighbors and nearby businesses and eventually appeased concerns with proposed solutions such as including food runners for nearby Tai Shi House and providing noise-deterring landscaping and a commitment to hold live music performances indoors only.

In the end, they won the unanimous support of Boulder’s City Council and Planning Board.

Build It and They Will Come

Located at the former Rayback Plumbing & Supply facility, the one-acre outdoor space will be converted into a park with trees, grass, gravel areas, bocce ball, fire pits and picnic tables.

Indoors, the 7,500 sq. ft. factory building will be retrofitted as a bar with huge garage doors and lots of windows and natural lighting. The whole area will be fenced.

Patrick describes the site as “massive.” The overall design will be park-like with spaces indoors and out to accommodate large groups. He envisions providing entrepreneurs with space for tech meet-ups and business meetings, and serving as a community center where nonprofits, schools, and other groups convene.

With the high cost of many other venues in Boulder, Rayback Collective could be a more affordable option.

Now that these final municipal hurdles have been cleared, the only thing left to do is final design and construction.

“We’re fortunate to have the help of 505 Design since they usually work on larger projects,” notes  Patrick.

“I love the community I live in, and love things that bring community about. Beer is a great conduit for that and food does the same thing,” says Patrick.

For more information, visit the Rayback Collective website or Facebook page!