We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Mooney and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melissa, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I wanted to provide more plant-based options to our community while also having a very approachable menu. We serve childhood favorites such as mac and cheese, nachos, and other staples…but veganized! This allows people to feel more open-minded and curious about vegan food since our products and business feels familiar and kinda playful.
Also I wanted to be my own boss haha.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Unlike most of my fellow food vendors, I didn’t have nearly as much experience in the restaurant business and actually went to school for textile engineering. Ya wtf is that you ask? Not important for my story haha. Out of college I worked for a 3D printing company for a few years before traveling and moving across the country. I then decided to change careers and focus on animal welfare and worked at a few shelters. I appreciate all the opportunities given to me along the way but always felt like I would never find my true path in life. Then COVID hit and I decided that was the time to try something new and start my first business. As any other entrepreneur will tell you, it’s not easy and government websites are confusing haha. Nonetheless I did it and it’s crazy to look back and in just one year people know what Kids Table is in our local community. It still feels surreal. Honestly I give a lot of credit to the power of social media but also want people to know that Instagram is a job too and it never felt like one to me before when it was just personal. Business owners put their heart and soul into their platforms and it takes so much time and energy.
I am my own photographer, social media manager, marketer, food prep, accountant, product shopper, etc. I want people to remember when they buy from small business that the price of items accounts for all of these things, all of our time and efforts, not just the product itself. Being on this side of the booth has made me appreciate this idea so much more. It has also made me appreciate the work that goes into any business and value of products. I am so proud of all my small business owner friends!!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Okay you asked for a week long itinerary and I got you! If it happened to be the last Monday night of the month, I’d take them to Monkey Bar on Santa Fe because they do a free comedy night and it’s also one of my favorite bars in the city. Cheap drinks, warm outdoor patio, darts, beer pong, Nintendo, and now they just opened up another room with more games. Tuesdays are a great day for a hike why not..I always love taking visitors to Settler Park in Boulder since it’s such a perfect balance of challenging yet short, with a helluva reward. Some other spots in Boulder I love are Roxies Tacos and of course the teahouse. Then on the way back to Denver you haaaave to hit up Akihabara in Westminster. It’s a Japanese arcade with great cheap cocktails and nice as hell bartenders. Wednesdays you go to Hi-Dive no question. My friend Andrew does vintage markets there on Wednesdays that features a lot of my favorite vintage vendors and Hi-Dive is just a really cool bar. S Broadway in general is a great tourist spot, with Sputnik having great vegan options and Mayan Theater always playing really cool movies you may not be able to find anywhere else. If it’s the first Thursday of the month, we’re going to Vegan Night at Improper City, duh. Great way to try a lot of the local mobile vegan food vendors. Fridays are for X Bar on Colfax, suuuper cool queer bar that feels like an art installation..it was Denver’s Meow Wolf before Meow Wolf. On Saturdays Grandma’s House hosts free comedy nights as well, and I love them since they were the first business to host Kids Table when we were just lil babies. Sunday! I’d highly recommend trying Sunday Supper at Somebody People. Honestly some of the best plant-based food I’ve ever had and the experience itself is unbelievable.
Other honorable mentions are BEST VEGAN RAMEN IN DENVER – Jinya’s spicy creamy ramen..come tell me different haha. Also some more unknown but wonderful vegan options around town are Mason’s Dumplings, Mango House (super cool food hall with worldwide food options) in Aurora, Crush Tap and Pizza, and Full Afterburner Calzones (they serve CholoAss Vegan meats!)
Sorry I always go a lil crazy with this question since there’s so much local hidden vegan gems that don’t show up with a simple Google search. Go check em out!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Someone who deserves a hug everyday and lots of credit would be my partner Jake. While he is not legally a part of Kids Table, you’ll see him front and center at our busier events where I need an extra hand. He is responsible for all the design behind my business and flyers for the vegan markets I curate.
Of course the local vegan community who come out and support me, I love you all and you are who keep me going when I feel too overwhelmed. Also my local vendors, especially the people who trust in me and vend at my events, as well as the ones who invite and host me such as Best One Yet and Wongway.