Four years ago, Ben and Amanda Spell announced their plans to open a coffee shop in the Dockum building at Douglas and Hillside. They'd call it Monroe Coffee Roasters, they said.
But after issues with the building cropped up, they had to abandon that plan. Then they had a baby, and their coffee dreams were shelved.
They weren't forgotten, though.
Four years later, the Spells are in the coffee business. But instead of brick-and-mortar, their shop is metal and mobile.
This week, they opened a new coffee truck called Camion Coffee, and it's earning attention for its unique look. Camion (French for "truck") is operating out of a Citroen H-Van, a vintage delivery truck manufactured in France and Belgium between 1947 and 1981.
They had the truck, boxy but cute with an elegantly sculpted front panel, imported from France.
"I still was interested in serving coffee, and I've always liked these trucks," said Ben, who is staffing Camion.
The truck arrived in Wichita two years ago, Ben said, and he's been tinkering with it ever since. He finally took it out for its maiden voyage the week before last.
This week, he's been parked on Second Street adjacent to Old Town Square, just outside Sullivan Higdon & Sink. Ben says he'll update the truck's whereabouts on its Facebook and Instagram pages. He said he plans to park the truck at various spots around town and hopes to set up at local rallies and food truck parks.
The menu features filtered coffee for $2.50-$3, a $3.50 espresso, a $4 cortado and a $4.50 latte. Camion also sells iced coffee, iced latte, espresso and tonic, and cappuccino. It's specialty is a drink called "Shakerato," which is an espresso over ice with simple syrup that's shaken until frothy, then topped with a lemon twist.