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Laura’s Artisan food truck set for grand opening at Powerhouse Science Center

Craft sandwich and salad establishment settles in prime location along Animas River Trail in Durango
Laura’s Artisan food truck will celebrate its official grand opening on Wednesday. The food truck is located near the Powerhouse Science Center in Durango. (Tyler Brown/Durango Herald)

Residents and visitors may soon be exploring exhibits at the Powerhouse Science Center with a sandwich in-hand.

Laura’s Artisan food truck will be having its grand opening Wednesday to celebrate the business’ first full summer at the Powerhouse.

The business originally started in 2020 as a way to deliver food when in-person dining was shutdown during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I started a delivery service because nobody could go out to eat,” said owner Laura Clutinger. “I would show up at people’s doors with a mask. And if they didn’t want to open the door, that’s fine. They’d paid ahead of time with their credit card and I just left it at the doorstep.”

It inspired Clutinger to open her own food truck.

The business was open at Powerhouse sporadically from September to February, but it had to shut down because of weather conditions.

The summer business hours will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Laura’s Artisan focuses on preparing meals with artisan bread that Clutinger bakes herself.

She said she has been baking since she was 7 years old. The now 60-year-old food truck owner says her specialty is lasagna, but the food truck mostly focuses on sandwiches and salads that differ based on the sauces that are used.

“I try to do things a little bit out of the box and not just what you’d see with a normal menu,” Clutinger said.

A perfect example of this would be the chicken bacon cheese doughnut. It is a zesty snack for the person who is trying watch their carbohydrate intake.

“I have a lot of customers that are low-carb, not necessarily keto, per se, but they don’t necessarily want a piece of bread,” she said.

Other carbohydrate-free options include the unwich, which is a sandwich without the bread. But her biggest seller is the Hammy Whammy, which is Black Forest ham, baby Swiss cheese, sprouts, pickles and habanero mustard served on sourdough bread.

Clutinger worked for a travel agency as her previous career, but she said baking and cooking has always been her passion.

“I just love the creativity and I feel relaxed when I cook. It doesn’t stress me out,” she said.

Clutinger bought the food truck in 2021 after her business started to take off in 2020 delivering meals to people who didn’t want to go to restaurants during the pandemic.

Food trucks have become a popular route for many business owners who do not want to deal with the cost of having a brick-and-mortar establishment.

Places like 11th Street Station and Lola’s Place have set the scene for food trucks in Durango while smaller breweries like Anarchy Brewing Co. partner with them as a food option for customers.

Clutinger said food trucks allow businesses to hit diverse markets by being mobile as well as cut costs on utilities and staffing.

However, she has no intention of traveling with her food truck; she has an agreement with Powerhouse to let her use the space.

Clutinger says the Powerhouse spot is an ideal site for the truck considering its location next to the river trail.

Powerhouse Director of Community Engagement Sydnie Golden said the science center has hosted food trucks on its property for at least the past four years.

“We think it’s really important to support our local businesses in any way we can,” Golden said. “Having the ability to have a food truck on our campus is one of those great ways where we can give back to a business and provide them with a location at a reasonable cost.”

It also benefits Powerhouse to have the food trucks on site when it hosts exhibits or events like trivia night.

“They want to be able to not have to leave the Powerhouse to get food, get snacks, be able to feed their families or eat during trivia,” Golden said. “And we also want to attract more people to our beautiful riverfront.”


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