New downtown cafe aims to celebrate Casper's oil history - Casper, WY Oil City News
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New downtown cafe aims to celebrate Casper’s oil history

(Brendan LaChance, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — “The Wooden Derrick” is a new cafe coming to downtown Casper with a tentative opening date of Nov. 5.

Kelly and and Gabriel Reyes are working to have the 112 East Second Street location transformed into a restaurant space that will do homage to Casper’s history as “the Oil City.”

Kelly is a retired truck driver and says she and her husband have an old wooden oil derrick. Parts from that derrick along with the titles of crew working in the oil industry will inspire the names of the menu items like their signature burger the “Shale Shaker.”

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“As a truck driver, I have hauled oil and been in those refineries,” she says, adding that her experience in the trucking industry totals 25-30 years.

Kelly says she’s looking for a local artist to create an image of a wooden derrick in the front window of the cafe.

“I would love to line my walls with the history of the oil industry,” she adds.

If customers have old photographs or figurines, Kelly says she’d be happy to trade them meals for items that would fit the theme of the cafe.

Providing “a tribute and a thank you” to the oil industry is the vision behind the Reyes’ new business.

“We want to keep [that history] alive,” Kelly says.

While her husband is still working, she says they plan to retire in Casper and have recently moved here from Wheatland.

Kelly is optimistic about joining the downtown community.

“I’m excited to be a part of it,” she says. “I love the downtown vibe. I love the theaters and I love that there’s these mom and pop shops.”

“These merchants downtown have been so welcoming and friendly.”

Kelly says that opening a cafe will help fulfill one of her and her husband’s dreams for retirement.

“This is what we’ve always wanted to do,” she says.

The restaurant will feature classic cafe fare like burgers, sandwiches and soups. They’ll also have breakfast items and “awesome dinners.”

Kelly says she’s still looking for a chef so that she can be more involved in the front end of the business.

They’ll offer nightly specials with opening hours set for 6 am-9 pm Tuesday-Saturday. They’ll be open until 2 pm on Sundays.

Catering will be available through “Without a Hitch Catering,” Kelly adds. She says the restaurant will also be available as a party and event space.

There is still some work to be done if “The Wooden Derrick” is going to make their Nov. 5 target.

On Monday, Oct. 21, Avanti Janitorial was conducting work sealing the floors, and Kelly says they’ve been doing a great job.

Once open, “The Wooden Derrick” will look to foster relationships with the community and participate in adding to Casper’s downtown life.

“We want to be completely involved,” Kelly says.

The previous business to occupy 112 East Second Street was Charlie T’s Pizzeria.