Odessa Oasis: A wheel different kind of catering

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AURORA | About seven months ago, the wall’s of Chris Daniluk’s cubicle had become overwhelmingly claustrophobic.

An employee of Denver-based insulation manufacturer Johns Manville, the life-long Aurora resident said he’d had enough of the fluorescent slog.

“The cubicle life just wasn’t jibing,” Daniluk, 31, said. “It’s tough.”

It didn’t take him long to find a new gig, however, as his cousins, Nick and Alex Daniluk, were busy cooking up a side hustle inside of a graying, 1955 Airstream trailer.

Now, Chris has swapped 5-foot-tall corporate dividers for a 19-foot-long Airstream Flying Cloud named Odessa.

Earlier this spring, the Daniluks launched The Drink Coaster as a planned “mobile speakeasy” housed within their revamped Airstream complete with a concession window, full bar and velveteen seating area.

“Alex is a bartender, he’s good at what he does and he’s wanted to start his own bar for some time” Nick, 32, said. “We’re not there yet, but we thought maybe we could start really small — and on wheels.”

However, licensing regulations quickly dashed the original plan for a watering hole that pops up in different locations around the city, according to Patrick Neely, who found and purchased the trailer.

“We wanted sort of a mobile bar, but, legally … the City of Denver was like, ‘Yeah, you can’t do that. That’s impossible.’”

The Daniluks have since morphed their concept into an events company that provides bespoke cocktails at weddings and large corporate gatherings. They contract with a catering service, Peak Beverage, to handle the wet side of the operation.

“We don’t touch the alcohol side,” Nick said. “You could serve dessert or tennis shoes from our standpoint. We’re just a piece of equipment, but we’ve branded it as a little rough on the outside and a nice lounge on the inside.”

Now valued at some $40,000, the space can accommodate two bartenders, a gaggle of VIPs and even boasts a secret compartment behind a painting of a 19th century couple. Still, the cloudy exterior remains — partly because the industrial paint used to coat it refused to come off after several attempts, and partly to maintain an unassuming profile, Nick said with a chuckle.

The Daniluks came into the trailer thanks to Neely, who got in touch with Odessa’s owner after locating another abandoned Airstream at a south Denver storage lot.

“She, as everybody always does, had these great plans of doing something with it,” Neely said. “Then life gets in the way.”

Neely and his wife Kerri Cole have been helping Airstream afficionados remove those unexpected hiccups from the remodeling process for nearly three years through their Englewood-based company Colorado Caravan. Started as a hobby, the firm customizes state-of-the-art land yachts for businesses and those who want to cruise the country in style.

Nick Daniluk has been working at the Airstream conversion business — housed inside of a tricked out Quonset Hut in Englewood — for two years. He’s now in business with his boss through the Drink Coaster: Neely the initial investor, and Nick the fabricator. Chris pitches in with marketing help, and Alex pours the drinks with Peak Beverage.

Chris said The Drink Coaster has already booked about a dozen events, with more on the docket for 2020. The familial crew also just added a new wagon to their fleet with a spruced-up horse trailer-turned-bar that offers similar services as Odessa, but for partygoers on a budget.

“We’re calling it Oats,” Nick said with a laugh. “So that when we tow it, we’re ‘hauling Oats.’”