Boulder Finally Gets Food Truck Park

Rayback Collective accommodates trucks, beer hall, play space & more.

001For 60 or so years, Rayback Plumbing occupied a long, deep lot on Valmont Avenue, just west of 28th Street in Boulder. After the owner, Marion Arthur Rayback, passed away in 2014 at the age of 92, the fate of this lot seemed briefly in limbo.  It is refreshing that rather than another housing complex or some sort of a shopping center, it has been reborn as the Rayback Food Collective — a place near the center of Boulder for food trucks and more.

Brand new picnic tables, mercifully shaded from the hot summer sun.
Brand new picnic tables, mercifully shaded from the hot summer sun.

An energetic young group of locals with the notion of a place off public streets where food trucks could assemble. They launched a Kickstarter campaign to create an outdoor area with food trucks, a stage and a shipping container housing a bar. As the funding came in, the concept gelled into the present Rayback Collective. What opened on Friday was The Marion, generous indoor space with more room for food, beer, music, (eventually) films and community. The plan is for year-round operations. Outdoors is the food truck area and a lawn for games and the welcome sight of lush green grass — at least for the time being.

Indoors is for beer and music.
Indoors is for beer and music.

My husband and I went there for Sunday lunch right at opening time, which explains the emptiness.. Although there is space outdoors for four trucks, there were two (Farmer Girl from Longmont and Sweet Cow’s MooMobile ice cream truck), plus a pretzel cart. One truck canceled. The plan is for four different trucks during the day and in the evening every day,  year-round. I hope they’ve thought out how to handle snow, because the ground is either grass or gravel.

We recently ate at Farmer Girl in Lyons, and on Sunday, their food truck rolled into Boulder.
We recently ate at Farmer Girl in Lyons, and on Sunday, their food truck rolled into Boulder.

Farmer Girl's vegetarian tostada is a crisp tortilla, black beans, red cabbage, greens, roasted tomato, chipotle crema, cheese and pumpkin seeds.
Farmer Girl’s vegetarian tostada is a crisp tortilla, black beans, red cabbage, greens, roasted tomato, chipotle crema, cheese and pumpkin seeds.
Southwestern chicken with Lightly smoked and braised Wisdom Farms chicken, rice, red cabbage, black beans and chipotle crema.
Southwestern chicken with made of lightly smoked and braised Wisdom Farms chicken, rice, red cabbage, black beans and chipotle crema.
Glassed-in pretzel cart -- a good combo with the beer drawn inside.
Glassed-in pretzel cart — a good combo with the beer drawn inside.
The Sweet Cow truck serves a good selection of wonderful ice cream -- but only in cups, no cones. Can you read the license plate?
The Sweet Cow truck serves a good selection of wonderful ice cream — but only in cups, no cones. Can you read the license plate?
The beanbag toss is fun for kids -- and adults too.
The beanbag toss is fun for kids — and adults too.
Cyclists can enter directly from the paved bike path. Very Boulder!
Cyclists can enter directly from the paved bike path. Very Boulder!

2775 Valmont Road, Boulder; 720-507-8838.

3 thoughts on “Boulder Finally Gets Food Truck Park”

  1. I’m excited about trying this out! When I was in Portland OR last summer I was astounded at the huge number of food trucks there, well supported by the city, and it was great. It’s a good way for someone just beginning a restaurant to get started and build customers without all the overhead of bricks and mortar. They are also a great attraction for families (and singles like me) who want “fast” food and choices beyond the regular “fast food” restaurants that offer mostly “fat” foods.

    1. I’ve thought about going to Denver’s twice-weekly Civic Center Eats since food trucks began assembling there twice a week several summers ago. I’ve still not made it, but I had no excuse not to try the Rayback Collective on opening weekend. The Daily Camera reported that it has really been cranking in the evening.

  2. Marion Rayback was a hoot (and did he ever know plumbing that was accompanied by free, helpful advice). As a neighbor of the new venture, I hope it’s a hoot too.

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