Café Italiano earns SBDC recognition

Musseref Deniz, left, and Huseyin Deniz sit outside the Café Italiano food truck they’ve operated since September 2018 at 100 South and Main Street. Photo by Doug McMurdo
Musseref Deniz, left, and Huseyin Deniz sit outside the Café Italiano food truck they’ve operated since September 2018 at 100 South and Main Street. Photo by Doug McMurdo

The owners of Café Italiano, the food truck coffee and sandwich shop located at 100 South and Main Street, were featured in the Utah chapter of the Small Business Development Corporation’s annual report.

Touted as an immigrant success story, the growing business owned by Huseyin and Muserref Deniz opened in September of 2018 and has since added a second food trailer that sells snow cones and, as of Friday, March 10, the pair will provide breakfast to the guests of Gonzo Inn.

“This was the best news for us,” said Huseyin. He said he reached out to SBDC-Moab at the local Utah State University campus after he and his wife Muserref visited Moab. “We were tourists and had a budget. We were able to extend our stay.”

Huseyin said he has visited Italy several times and was impressed with the ubiquitous coffee shops and Panini sandwiches and decided to base his business by pairing the two.

It was important the business would remain open year-round, he said, with the hope of attracting local customers.

Huseyin is a veteran marketer with years of experience in the hotel and hospitality industry, a skill set that led him to strike a deal with the Gonzo Inn, which is under new management.

The couple will cook breakfast for the inn’s guests starting Friday, with the intention of moving away from the typical free breakfasts offered at other hotels and motels.

“You can’t stand up with the national chains on room prices so you have to offer special services,” he said. The Deniz’s said they are grateful to the local SBDC, crediting the organization with guiding them in the right direction.