Crum-Brew-Le Cafe opens in Alta: comfort food meets railroad heritage

Friday, October 15, 2021

Not everybody has their own train. Or at least, a vintage caboose attached to their digs.

Tiffany Crum, the new owner of Alta’s signature railroad-side diner, has put her own stamp on the business. The former Depot opened last week as Crum-Brew-Le Cafe, a catchy take on the French recipe Crème brûlée, created by Tiffany’s niece.

The “brew” within the name is a nod to the many forms of speciality coffee Tiffany deals in, which she’s bringing to her new enterprise from the coffee shop she operates in nearby Aurelia, expresso machine and all.

The sign features a distinctive goat character, the critters you’ll find running around the Crums’ homeplace.

When the restaurant in Alta closed, Tiffany and family swung into action quickly.

“I think a place like this is very important to a community. My husband and I would always come here for our special occasions. When I heard it was closing, I knew I wanted to take the opportunity. In all, it was about three months in the works,” she said.

“The community has been very supportive, which I really appreciate,” she said. “They love the food, and were so happy to have the place staying open.”

Alta is familiar stomping grounds, as her children came up in the schools there. “We are here to stay, we love the community,” she says.

It didn’t take long to get the cafe up and running, and even less time for a hungry local population to spread the word.

A fresh, brighter coat of paint, and the doors were opened. “There’s decorating to do still. I live out on the farm and love the rural scenery and taking photos, so you may see a lot of that in here.”

Due to popular demand, Tiffany is keeping all the favorite items from the past menu, including the chicken-fried steak that seems to be an Alta favorite.

Breakfast is served all day, with themed dishes like the Caboose and the Coal Miner’s Daughter. There are plenty of burgers, sandwiches, salads, The Windmill (grilled chicken breast with cheese, bacon and BBQ sauce), and intriguing sides like pickle fries, sweet potato fries and loaded hash browns. There are pastries, cookies and muffins, fruit smoothies, Chai tea, Italian sodas. Several different kids’ meals are offered including the classic PB&J. Weekly specialties focus on the comfort foods - liver and onions, lasagna, “the ultimate patty melt” and more. “People love the food,” Tiffany said.

You can even pick up a jar of locally-sourced raw honey on the way out.

While the front hall of the building is family-table style dining, the back is a rare experience - the train caboose decorated in antiques and 1800s photos is lined with comfortable booths. “It’s so unique. I love anything history, so I’m right at home,” Tiffany says. One corner is set up in bright, coffee shop style for enjoying a morning cup of joe or a small gathering.

Ultimately, Tiffany says, she would love to have a drive-through, especially for the coffee and pastry crowd.

While Crum-Brew-Le Cafe is Tiffany’s baby, the whole family is involved - husband Shannon, and kids Tyler, Emma and Schuyler. “The family helps on the weekends, and one or two of the kids will probably be here at those times, and my daughter will be running the shop in Aurelia.”