Couple Brings a Taste of the Northwest to Roosevelt
Roosevelt—Fred and Dani Heslip are bringing a little bit of the big city to small town Utah.
Last year, the couple noticed that there wasn’t much of a community meeting place or any coffee shops in their small Duschene County city of nearly 7,000 people. Ready to flex their entrepreneurial muscles, the two decided to open a coffee shop. Soon, they added an ever-expanding menu, and now, their Beans & Bites is open and thriving, offering a from-scratch menu of panini, pastries and fresh coffee, with everything made from scratch.
“My first job when I was 15 was a barista. I remembered the feeling I would get [while working]. I didn’t realize how much food can affect people. People would come in with a certain mood and leave happy and confident, ready for the day,” said Dani. “My parents told me, when they say food is a comfort, it’s true. When I got older and came back to the industry, I realized it’s relevant in people’s life. It can bring happiness. And there’s a sense of unity when people come around a kitchen table or a restaurant.”
Fred, originally from Seattle, is no stranger to coffee. (“There’s a coffee shop on every block [in Seattle],” he laughed.) He moved to Roosevelt after his wife Dani, originally from the Uintah Basin, sold him on the charms of the area. Both previously had some background in food service, and both describe themselves as foodies, often trekking down to Park City to try new restaurants or cooking at home. They wanted to bring a piece of the bigger cities into their own café, to create a menu different from the usual steak-and-potatoes fare that’s common in Roosevelt.
“We wanted a Park City meets Seattle meets the basin charm,” said Fred. “The comments we get is that people step in, out from the street, and feel like they stepped out of Roosevelt. There are people that have never had a panini!”
Fred and Dani offer fare such as turkey, bacon, cheese and avocado aioli panini, Cajun fish and chips, shrimp po’ boys, donuts, cinnamon rolls, smoothies, gourmet hot chocolate and various coffee drinks. Fred says the two try to be “connoisseurs on the coffee” they serve—”There’s nothing worse than paying $5 for a coffee and not getting what you want,” he said.
Along with the fare, Fred and Dani have tried hard to make Beans & Bites inviting for locals, tourists and families of all kinds. When remodeling the café space (which was once a real estate office), they built in a 10×10 stage, so that they could have live music and open mic nights.
“We needed [new food options],” said Dani. “I also realized there’s not a place for kids to hang out here. We lost our bowling alley. We lost our skating rink. We wanted to make a stable place where we can bring families back together again and they can have home-cooked food.”
Beans & Bites has only been open since January, but already the local community has taken to it. According to Dani, one patron drives in once a week from 55 miles away to get his weekly fix of their tomato bisque. The café has already won a 1st place readers’ choice award from the Vernal Express and Uintah Basin Standard for best coffee house.
“There has been a huge response from the community,” said Dani. “We’re so appreciative of our support. We love giving back to our community, too, and are so pleased with the turnout.”