Now fast forward past flip phones, free checked-bags, and front derailleurs to our present-day brisk fall evening visit. The restaurant is packed with young, old, locals, and tourists; but there is an overwhelming presence of smiling, dirty, hungry mountain bikers – which is felt everywhere in Fruita. What once was a small cow town just outside of Grand Junction on Colorado’s western slope, is now a name of its own because of the copious amount of fun, flowy, desert-style ribbons of singletrack. The growth and popularity of mountain biking in Fruita has obviously been embraced by the town and community, bringing busloads of tourists and cyclists for much of the year. Business is good for Jen and Anne, but they are not stopping at pizza.
This time it’s Anne’s turn. Her Seattle roots have steered her down the coffee road for many years. With a vision of roasting and brewing the perfect cup of coffee, Fruita now has as good coffee as it does pizza. “Bestslope Coffee Company” opened their doors about a year ago with the teamwork of Tom – who was gracefully persuaded by the two Hot Tomatoes from starting an ice cream shop to going into the coffee business. And even though business is good and life is busier, these ladies are shifting into high gear for the trifecta.
Jerry and his son Loren, might have been initially surprised to find their neighbor, Jen, at their doorstep with such a unique proposition. But 24 hours later, all pens to paper to lock down a brand new double-wide trailer in the nearby trailer park, in exchange for their ramshackled downtown Fruita residence. That happens to share a backyard property line with the Hot Tomato Pizzeria.