July 26, 2010

Trolley Cafe

CLOSED - 9/2010 - goodbye, Trolley Cafe

Cuisine: Coffee and Sandwiches

The concept of the Trolley Café began as an animal conservation project when Dustin Butler was volunteering in the Philippines for the Peace Corps.  There, he started working with locals to protect the Civet cat, a fruit-eating, tree-dwelling threatened species that is part of the mongoose family.  Fruit from the coffee plant is part of this rare wild mammal’s diet; they climb up to the top of the coffee trees and eat the sweetest fruits, leaving the beans on the jungle floor for people to harvest.  So Dustin worked with farmers in the area to develop a rare strain of coffee known as “Civet Coffee” using the beans the Civet’s leave behind.  And the money goes directly back to the conservation efforts he established with the same people he befriended while living in a tool shed in southeast Asia. 

The coffee is shipped from the Philippines through Adam Valenzuela’s shipping company in San Antonio.  Adam, a Pilipino himself, met Dustin through his shipping company and quickly realized Dustin spoke two of the native languages from his area.  The two went into business together and the Trolley café is a result of their friendship and business relationship.  Additionally, the pair have partnered with Sesa teas, which is a local company that imports Indian teas.   In addition to serving wellness teas and iced coffee, the Trolley Cafe offers breakfast, lunch and frozen deserts with an Asian flare.  From waffle stix, to grilled breakfast and lunch sandwiches, to real fruit smoothies, your taste buds are in for a real treat.

Their trolley is a nostalgic image.  It happens to be the same make, color and model as the old dillo trolleys that used to run here in Austin.  Dustin says, “We bought it out of a shopping center in Colorado.  We had it towed down and I converted it myself to a mobile kitchen, added a bunch of brewing and blending equipment… it still drives, it even has a bell on it.  In fact, people have tried to get inside and ask where we are going because they think it’s the old Dillo.”  Before setting up shop in the South Lamar / Barton Springs area of Austin, Dustin was driving the Trolley to various rodeos and events.  He anticipates utilizing the seating and rest area behind the trailer for live music, artists and other creative endeavors.