Buzzed Coffee officially relaunched on Valentine’s Day — an appropriate day for what its founder intended, a caffeinated love letter to Salt Lake City’s Rose Park neighborhood.
New owners Dominic Oliver and Sierra Hibl have bought Buzzed from Trina Perez, who converted an old FedEx truck into a mobile coffee unit in 2016. Perez couldn’t get a decent cup of coffee in Rose Park, and she knew her neighbors couldn’t either.
“It is totally underserved,” Oliver said. “The only other coffee here is Maverik or 7-11. That’s it. We’ve got a pretty solid list of regulars who come by. Most of them live in the area.”
When Perez became a mom a few years ago, it got tougher to keep regular hours with the truck. She met Oliver through the Italian-American Civic League of Utah, and handed over the keys in early February. (The literal keys are still in Oliver’s hands, as Hibl and the rest of the crew are learning how to drive a stick shift.)
During its opening week, Buzzed parked in its usual Rose Park spot, at 960 W. 100 North, right next to Centro Unico’s parking lot. On a recent sunny winter morning, neighbors lined up outside the window as Thomas, Dominic’s brother and Buzzed’s barista, served drip coffee and speedily prepped specialty drinks, including dirty chai, Mexican Mocha, Purple Haze and Love Potion (which is only available during February; Oliver says there’s a minty drink on deck for March for St. Pat’s). Quite a few people also opted for the cronuts, baked by Vosen’s Bread Paradise.
In the afternoon, Buzzed headed downtown, where a lot of Rose Park residents work. “We’re trying not to go any further than 200 or 300 South — we want to give people easy access, no matter where we are,” Oliver said. (Find the truck’s schedule on Instagram, @buzzedcoffeetruck.)
“We love the neighborhood,” Hibl added. “We love the connection the truck already has to the people here, so we want to be consistent with giving them quality coffee options.”
Originally, Hibl and Oliver planned to open a daytime cafe out of Brick & Mortar, the downtown site at 228 S. Edison St. where Campos Coffee once lived — but discovered that was prohibited due to Utah’s liquor laws. Plan B was parking a coffee truck next to the bar, and Oliver originally envisioned an Italian theme.
When the pair met Perez, they realized it made more sense to adopt her truck, keep the branding and serve its established audience.
“We were going to renovate our own truck from the bottom built up, and then happened to meet Trina,” Hibl said. “She was like, ‘This is a passion project of mine — I don’t have the energy to put into at the moment, but I want someone who is connected to the community and wants to keep it here, and wants to grow it.’ And we were like, ‘Yeah, that’s definitely something that we’re interested in.’”
Hibl said that she and Oliver, as younger people, also chose a food truck over a physical location because of the lower cost of entry, which makes it easier to experiment with the menu, the drinks, and the hours. They will continue to grow Buzzed, but add gelato, cannolis, biscotti and affogato — vanilla gelato with two shots of espresso poured over the top. “That’s the only way I drink straight espresso!” Hibl laughed.
The other change at Buzzed is the beans: Hibl’s father and uncle co-own Park City Coffee Roasters, which sources some of the highest-quality coffee beans in the state. It roasts Buzzed’s custom house blend, as well as a Cafe de Oyo mix with Mexican coffee beans, cacao and cinnamon. Buzzed offers bags of both blends for sale, as well as a roaster’s espresso, organic Mexican, and decaf.
“Decaf is one that we did add that Trina did not do previously,” Oliver added. “We don’t get it requested very often out of the espresso machine, but it’s nice to have on hand for people, especially if we’re going to be open later in the day, where you have people who want the flavor, but not the caffeine.”
Oliver said he and Hibl would actually like to be open much later in the day, parking downtown at night to serve people leaving bars and nightclubs. “Maybe it’s because I’m Italian, but I do like to have my coffee late at night,” he said with a laugh. “But we’re mainly here to serve the Rose Park community for sure,” he added. “So we’ll expand our hours.”
The two also hope to open a physical cafe at their commissary, Sugar Space, later this summer. That way, if they’re out on an event (like the educators they served at a recent Teacher Appreciation Day), there’s always a presence in the neighborhood.
“The people here are so nice,” Oliver said. “There’s way fewer issues here with people coming up and being expectant with their orders,” Hibl agreed. “It’s just a really relaxed vibe. Everyone understands that I’m ordering a coffee, and yeah, I would like it right now — but it’s going to take them a second to make it.”