MOUNTAIN VILLAGE – Skiing and snowboarding involve a lot of physical work. Once you’ve schlepped your gear across town, and endured the post-ski soreness of a full day on the mountain in the early season, you’re wiped – and, most likely, starving.
If you’re in need of a pick-me-up coffee or a hearty lunch, fear not – Teddy’s Coffee Den & Waffles is now open in Mountain Village, located in Mountain Village Town Hall Plaza, next to the gondola station. The Den is open Monday-Friday, 6:30 a.m.- 6:30 p.m. (and Saturdays, 7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m., and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays).
This coffee-and-waffle shack offers a complete menu of espressos and hot beverages alongside authentic Belgian, Liege and Brussels waffles and piping-hot sandwiches. Local owners Jani Hamilton and Paul Mooney make the batters daily from scratch, using organic ingredients.
“People always say to me, ‘Jani, why don’t you put signs up saying that your ingredients are all organic?,’” said Hamilton, “To which I answer, ’well, shouldn’t food always be like that?’”
Mooney used his handyman skills, earned from years building yachts and working on Telluride Ski Resort’s lift maintenance crew, to completely redesign the 80-square-foot kitchen, installing a factory-fresh convection oven for Hamilton to bake her homemade cookies and muffins. Mooney also utilized the kitchen’s high ceilings by installing a library ladder-like system for storage and easy access to kitchen and cleaning supplies.
Once you’ve approached the ordering window in Mountain Village, Hamilton encourages customers to build their own waffle. Choose from a variety of Liege, Brussels, Gluten-free or Cornbread Jalapeño batters, and then add a multitude of sweet or savory toppings, including sweet creams and jams, bacon, turkey or cheddar cheese.
The Coffee Den also has many savory sandwiches on the menu, using Brussel waffles as buns. Hamilton makes the batters daily, and alters the Brussels recipe to her liking.
“I started playing with the Brussels recipe by adding vanilla and a little sugar, so it fluffs up perfectly. Then you can pick and choose cheese and ham on it, giving it a real nice flavor,” said Hamilton.
The Griz (bacon, egg and your choice of cheese) is the best-seller, but customers can also choose between a turkey, bacon and avocado or red pepper, pesto, goat cheese and spinach sandwich. Teddy’s uses only Boar’s Head meats and cheeses.
The Liege waffle is the favorite waffle a la carte. Straight off the 40-pound French waffle iron, these sweet, dense waffles have a slight crunch in the batter and sweet taste. Top them with a variety of locally-made, tree-ripened jams, including strawberry rhubarb, mixed berries or cherry pie.
“These jams are made in Palisade, and the farmers grow their fruits organically. There’s very little sugar in them,” said Hamilton.
Hamilton and Mooney also own Teddy’s Mini Donuts, a donut stand serving fresh, handmade donuts, located at the Telluride Gondola Station Plaza. The hut is open most days from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and offers the delectable treats made by a donut-making apparatus that Mooney mostly constructed himself.
Mooney also constructed the entire donut cart himself, which features compartments housing mixes, doughs, oils and sugars. Throughout the day, Teddy the bear sits on the cart’s glass guard, looking over the donut making.
They chose the name Teddy after Hamilton’s father, who recently celebrated his 95th birthday.
“My father’s name is Teddy, and he used to make donuts for us when I was growing up,” said Hamilton. “So, I already had an idea of how to make donuts, having seen him make them in the past. He was really charmed by us naming these after him.”
Mooney and Hamilton moved to Telluride from Portland, Ore. in 2011, and have five children. Their youngest is a sophomore at Telluride High School.
“We visited here plenty of times to ski, so we’re familiar with the area,” said Hamilton.