We had the good fortune of connecting with Ryan McLean and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ryan, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
As a catering company we have seen what the events industry creates in terms of waste and we hate it! From the flowers and one-off decorations used at events, Catering companies making astronomical amounts of food and throwing it all away at the end of an event, bartending companies using disposable cups and bottles & cans… It’s all waste!! The list goes on, but it is a HUGE industry and it impacts our environment greatly. When we started Mountain Crust, we wanted to be different. We are as close to a zero waste catering company as you can get. Its impossible to be entirely waste free in todays day in age because things like cheese and meat all come with plastic wrapping or casings, but that is minimal! How do we make a difference?! Food- We cook all of our food for events fresh on site as it is needed so no food goes to waste. An example would be that you might order 100 steaks from a catering company and no matter what they have already cooked those steaks ahead of time. If only 79 people show up… Well those steaks get tossed! We cook all of our appetizers, salad, pizza, steaks, etc… right out of our truck as it is needed! Food scraps left on plates? Our biggest pet peeve! But we compost everything we can. Our trash can is our smallest bin that we carry on the truck! Food service- We use ZERO disposable items. Real plates, cutlery, etc.. Its all reusable. Most catering companies use enough disposable items to fill an entire dumpster after an event because they don’t have to do dishes that way. Dishes is one of our favorite parts of the job! Bring em on! Bartending- Disposable cups?! Bottles and cans of beer?! Heck NO!! We use all real glassware and we have beer taps on all of our trucks so you can have beer on tap. Kegs are the most environmentally friendly way to drink its ZERO WASTE! The bottom line is that we can use one normal sized trash bag to feed about 1000 people which is pretty incredible and it is almost all plastic wrap from a few of our items that come packed that way. We are GREEN FREAKS!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Mountain Crust is truly just a company that embodies who we are to our cores. We love dancing, we love cooking, we love making people happy. Its just makes it that much easier that we get to do all of that in amazing old restored farm trucks in peoples driveways, the coolest wedding venues in the state, parks, you name it! We pull up and make it a party. Our slogan is “You bring the people, We bring the party!” It really has been an amazing journey. Kendall Flores, who is my head chef and business partner, and myself started cooking pizzas in my house (Minneapolis MN) when my mom got a wood-fired oven in 2005. We then started a restaurant out of my house in 2013 and this was very illegal! You have to have a commercial kitchen, zoning, licenses, etc… We were just doing this as college students to make some extra money on the side. We truly didn’t think it would get as big as it did. We were selling about 150 pizzas a night out of my house and it was insane. People came from all over with their friends. This was short lived as channel 4 news came to do a story on us and they brought the health department with them. We were shutdown! But we knew we had a great product. I returned to junior year of college and couldn’t get this idea out of my head. All I wanted to do was make pizza for a living. So I started planning and by senior year I bought a 1955 Ford farm truck, with plans to turn it into a wood-fired cooking machine! I convinced Kendall to move to Colorado and we launched in the spring of my senior year (University of Denver, 2016) and have been growing ever since. Now we are up to 3 trucks so we are able to cater multiple events per day and we have different crews running each truck. We only do privately catered events, Weddings are our biggest book of business, we do about 180-200 weddings every year all over the State. However, we also do grad parties, birthdays, corporate parties, you name it! One big thing about Mountain Crust is that we all really like to ski… So we are only open from March 10th- November 10th every year. That way we get 4 months off every year to chase some storms!
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.
I love biking. So I would definitely do a biking brewery tour starting in my neighborhood at Platte Park brewery. Heading downtown to Denver Beer CO on the Cherry Creek bike trail. From there we would probably end up in RiNO at Great Divide, The Source Hotel, etc… Those are all really great spots. We would probably need an amazing brunch in there somewhere and I love Devils Food on Gaylord ST. in Wash Park East. A nice hike in Golden followed by a visit to New Terrain Brewery is always on the list of to-do’s as well with visitors. So basically just hiking, biking and beer. The three staples to Denver living!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shoutout to all of our employees! We are a catering company and food is certainly a very important aspect of our business but most important are our people. Customers tell us all the time “You guys have incredible food and your trucks are the coolest things we’ve ever seen, BUT its your energy and all of you guys that make this all come together!” That is the biggest complement we can ever receive. Ultimately we are all just really good friends that like to cook and drink beer together… So we throw amazing parties while we hangout, cook up a storm, have a cold beer and crank tunes from our Juke box! Major thank you to everyone who has ever worked for Mountain Crust and helped create this type of atmosphere that our customers are accustomed to having at their events.