Oatmiel Cafe Food Trailer Makes a Comeback
After taking a brief break during the pandemic, Courtney Dietz is back serving sweet and savory oatmeal varieties at public and private local events.
Oatmeal was the one thing to sustain Courtney Dietz on a cross-country bicycling trip from Washington state to her home state of Rhode Island with her sister in 2011. She had just graduated from Rhode Island College, her sister had completed active duty service with the Navy on the West Coast, and they were looking for an adventure together.
“I shipped my stuff out there and we bicycled back home. It took us two months to do this trip,” Dietz says. “We ate oatmeal every day and you had to get creative with it.”
The sisters, who grew up in Burrillville, came up with so many different takes on oatmeal way back then, that Dietz began to think it had potential for a future business idea. She continued exploring the world by studying community development in South Africa, traveling to Peru and backpacking in Europe, and soon the timing was right to come back home to Rhode Island. “The more places I went, the more I appreciated Rhode Island,” Dietz says. She had also worked in so many different hospitality jobs leading up to taking that final leap of launching her own business.
“I knew if I didn’t just go full force with it, it would always be there, like what if?” Dietz says, adding that she and her now-husband moved to Providence at that time when she first started out with the business in 2019, but now they live in Burrillville with their child. Oatmiel Cafe food trailer launched that fall of 2019, serving up ten different varieties of sweet and savory oatmeal topped with sweet ingredients like strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, banana and Nutella, or the savory toppings of bacon, fried egg, chorizo, cheddar cheese and sour cream, and sometimes sprinkled with shaved coconut flakes, flax and chia seeds. Each variation can come accented with a complimentary drizzle of local honey, too.
“I try to have five sweet and five savory menu choices at all times,” she says. “For each season, we do more fun ones. For autumn, pumpkin pie and cinnamon, and for summer we have done tropical bowls with mango, pineapple and coconut. We try to keep it new. It’s fun to play around and try it out for ourselves.”
Dietz started out serving from the trailer along the area where the Providence Pedestrian Bridge is now located, and gradually took on more private events and public event appearances.
“I had a few regulars that gave me the impression that I’m not the only crazy person that’s excited about oatmeal,” she says with a laugh.
Oatmiel’s name combines oats with honey (miel means honey in Spanish.) “When I thought of oats and honey and putting those words together, it wasn’t just because I love honey, it’s because I wanted to express people coming together as a community,” says Dietz. Originally, she thought about opening a community space for her business, but when Covid hit she realized the trailer was the way to go. “I think we lucked out by being a mobile restaurant,” Dietz says.
After some taking time off during the pandemic, Oatmiel Cafe will roll into the Bloom Flower and Home Show in Providence on April 2-3 at the WaterFire Arts Center. The show will bring together more than eighty-five makers and vendors of all kinds for two afternoons of sharing their talents and wares. It’s sure to be a personal paradise for plant-lovers, art buffs and vintage seekers with food and cocktails mixed in, too.
Dietz is planning to drive the trailer into the building and serve right out of its window with help from friends and family who always pitch in at events. It’s a rare occasion for the mobile vendor that is most often hired for private parties like post-wedding brunches with a few markets mixed in. “It’s been exciting to meet other vendors,” she says. “We get to see what our community is doing in their spaces and meet other artists and vendors.” The Oatmiel truck was recently hand-painted by Rhode Island College art student Victoria Alden with images of bees collecting pollen to make honey, and Dietz is also training to be a beekeeper to harvest her own local honey for the business. Bloomflowerandhome.com; oatmielcafe.com –Jamie Coelho
Follow @oatmiel_cafe on Instagram for the upcoming schedule.