Danny Newman usually buys a property and leaves it be. This time around, he’s starting something new.
The 42-year-old tech entrepreneur is known for preserving unique buildings and buying beloved Denver businesses, like 150-year-old My Brother’s Bar and the Mercury Cafe.
But at 4200 W. Colfax Ave., in a former tire shop, he’s launching a new concept: Full Tank Food Park.
Newman — who also owns the top of the downtown clocktower — said the business on Colfax, which will open next week, is a mashup of a traditional neighborhood coffee shop and a food truck park. The coffee shop will operate in the 1,200-square-feet building, while the food trucks will park outside the 0.22-acre lot.
Newman bought the site in 2018 for $755,000, but it’s sat untouched since. He originally planned to open “Colfax Country Club” — not to be confused with the public golf course in Iowa — which would include table tennis, mini golf, a swimming pool and “Denver’s tiniest motel,” with just one room.
That plan wasn’t approved until 2020, right when lockdowns started, so it was put on the back burner.
“It’s been a little all over the place,” Newman said. “We kind of paused on the Colfax Country Club, and when we came back out of things and wanted to amp that back up we got updated bids and quotes and construction prices increased.”
So instead, Newman said he pivoted to something that would have a similar vibe, but not require a full buildout.
“I still hope to have elements of that but from a cost and bandwidth perspective, we had to dial that back,” Newman said. “But us dialing back a bit is still pretty crazy, so it will be a fun one.”
Full Tank, which Lily Walters will run, will have around six rotating food trucks. Newman said his long-term goal is to create a semi-permanent spot for Denver food trucks, like what’s found in Portland or Austin, Texas.
“I think what has been happening in the independent food truck scene in Denver has been awesome, but we’re still behind what those other cities are doing,” Newman said.
He said the coffee shop and food trucks are just the first phase of the concept. He plans on adding games like table tennis, building an outdoor space similar to Improper City in RiNo and is working on getting a liquor license. And, he still hasn’t scrapped the tiniest motel idea.
“We just want a fun, quirky space that keeps the Colfax weird vibe but feels really comfortable,” he said.