It has been almost nine years since the day Tocabe opened its doors for the first time. Since that day, December 18th 2008, many fantastic things have happened here, between our two brick and mortar shops and a food truck. As a company, we have been lucky enough to appear on multiple television networks, from Food Network to Travel Channel to CNN. We have had many amazing entertainers from the Native community perform in our shop, including people like Gary Farmer, the 1491’s, Joanne Shannondoa, Robert Maribal, Vaughn Eagle Bear, Cody Blackbird, Quese IMC and many others. We’ve had the opportunity to work with, support, and be supported by some incredibly influential Native organizations both national and local – Native American Rights Fund, American Indian College Fund, National Indian Child Welfare, First Nations Development Institute, National Food Distribution Program, Stronghold Society, Café Cultura, Denver Indian Family Resource Center, Denver Indian Center, and Denver March Powwow, just to name a few. Besides all of this, we have served food to and welcomed countless amazing people over the years.
As Tocabe continues to grow and expand, there is a group of people we don’t discuss nearly as much as they deserve. In a recent interview I gave with Uproxx Magazine, we talked about Tocabe, our work, our vision and our progress. In interviews like this, I find it difficult to talk about myself, or even just Matt and myself, as the owners of our restaurant brand. Tocabe is not just a single person or a small group of individuals, we are and have always been a dynamic set of people working not just for a job, but an idea. In all interviews I enjoy discussing “us” at Tocabe. Why is Tocabe successful? Because of “us,” our crew, the Tocabe Crew. While it may be Matt and me who are out talking about and growing our brand, there are many people who are in the shops and truck every day really making it all happen.
I want my first blog post to recognize the people who truly make this place a success. Far too often Matt and I receive the credit and accolades for the success of Tocabe, but there are so many people who have helped make this place great. Over nine years many people have come and gone from our crew, some pretty amazing people. I am not sure if they all realize how much they mean to me and to the company. We consider ourselves lucky that we’ve had this remarkable crew, with some individuals staying on for many years. At the risk of sounding cliché there have been many tears shed, both happy and sad, arguments, disagreements, frustrations, but most importantly so much laughter and joy. Tocabe would not be what it is without “The Crew” and I do not mean this in terms of people working to cook and serve food on a daily basis, but rather a group of people who have supported each other, helped each other and befriended one another.
As we continue moving forward I want our guests, fans and supporters to know how important The Crew is to this place but I also want our crew to know how truly special they each are to me and to the company. For those of you who are still with us at the shop and to those who have moved on to new gigs, I want you all to know you are valued and have never been taken for granted. Speaking for myself, I have a big vision for where I see Tocabe going, and to those of you who see and support that vision, I couldn’t be more grateful to you. You all know I can lose myself in working and thinking about so many different things that I can leave you under-informed or underprepared, and yet you all always get it done in the true Tocabe way, with quality, commitment and a smile (at least a smile for me, after I left you high and dry 😉
We always wanted Tocabe to be a family place both for our guests and also our crew. I cannot thank The Crew enough, both present and past, for what you have put into this crazy idea of ours. I miss those of you we do not get to see much anymore and I always look forward to working with those of you still helping to grind it out every day. I always thought I would love this job for the food and the community but I now know you all make me love this job more than I could imagine. I have had and continue to have so much fun every day.