Chef Stephanie Lyman (pictured) offers freshly made breakfast and brunch at Colorado Coffee Merchants (302 E. Fillmore) Mon-through-Thurs 6 to 1 p.m. and Fridays 7 to 11 a.m. The menu changes daily but is posted each morning on Facebook (CLICK HERE.)

“We change it up because it’s fun, for us and for our regulars,” she says. “It allows us to get small quantities of ingredients at a time, which lessens our food waste. We compost all of our food scraps and use recyclable containers as well.”

Stephanie grew up in Casper, Wyo., where she fell in love with baking and pastries. She went to cake decorating school but wanted to do more. After studying hospitality management in Wyoming and attending French pastry school in Chicago, she moved to the Colorado Front Range. She worked at a number of food related businesses, most recently Boonzaaijer’s Bakery, where she was lead baker and baking manager.

“One day I came wandering into Colorado Coffee Merchants to buy some espresso and told them about my candy business and they suggested I bring in some samples,” she recalls. Store owner Eric Umenhofer had always wanted to serve food and quickly realized Stephanie might be the person to make it happen.

Since then, local food critics have raved about the quality and freshness of Stephanie’s ever-changing rotation of made-to-order meals.

“Our idea from the start was to use everything as local and handmade as possible,” she says. “We get our flour from Monte Vista (in the San Luis Valley) and all of our produce from Venetucci Farm. We grind our own flour in-house and cure our own bacon. Our butters are all made in-house. Making croissants is a three-day process. It’s good whole food that you can’t find anywhere else. And people really respond to that. Along Fillmore, there aren’t a lot of options, except for fast food.”

She caters to local businesses when buying supplies, including Mountain Mama Natural Foods, Venice Olive Oil Co., Farm Crest and of course Ranch Foods Direct. “All of our meat, eggs and cheeses come from Ranch Foods Direct,” she says. “I really, really love the ground beef. I know it sounds really simple, but it’s such a good quality versatile meat. Whenever we do burgers, inevitably someone will say it’s the best they’ve had in their life. The pork belly is amazing too. We get a full slab of belly and make our own bacon or braised barbecue sliders. Any time we do anything with shredded pork, we go to Ranch Foods Direct and get a pork shoulder.”

Weekly themed menus include taco variations on Tuesdays, eggs Benedict on Wednesdays, and sausage and gravy on Fridays. Stephanie also keeps up with her sideline business, Steffi’s Bakery and Confections. You can see photos of her cakes and candies and find out how to place special orders by CLICKING HERE to visit her Facebook page.