We all know the Doll Hut is the ideal punk rock road house when you're in the mood for a mosh pit and a Modelo. But what about when you've got a hankering for champagne and a vegan burrito? If this sounds like a totally different venue, we can assure you it's not. What's more, the guy in charge of the most healthy champagne Sunday brunch you'll ever eat happens to look like Fried Chicken's gray haired mascot.
Randy Ulrich, aka Colonel Randers—you're local neighborhood music missionary—has a pretty distinct look when you see him for the first time sporting his bushy, white mustache and head of long grey hair tucked under a snazzy fedora. It'd be like if his Original Reciepe-slanging counterpart had traded herbs and spices for—some good herb. But aside from his Dead Head aesthetic, Colonel Randers is also doing something unique this Sunday to feed the homeless and the punk rock community at the same time.
As an organizer for the OC Burrito Project, Randers and his crew of volunteers are tasked with making 300-350 vegan burritos on the third Friday of every month at a kitchen in 4th St. Market and distributing them to the homeless in Santa Ana on Saturday. The next day, they take what's left over, roll up a few more healthy tortilla bombs—loaded with beans, peppers, tomatoes and spices—along with handmade vegan tortilla chips and bring them to the Doll Hut and throw an all-day show and sell off the rest of the burritos to hungry punkers while they watch some local bands play on stage. For $7 you can get a burrito, as many chips as you want and four different types of salsa—sorry, the champagne's not included. But that $7 provides 4 burritos for homeless people, Ulrich says.
"I take 100% of the money from the food sales and put it right back into our ingredients fund, so it goes right into next month’s Burrito build," Randers says. "It’s not just burritos either, it’s water, toilet paper, personal item bags, clothing, socks, underwear. We like to promote the burrito part of it but it’s really only about a third of what we do."
Inspired by the sprawling homeless camps outside the Civic Center, Ulrich decided this was his way of helping the problem. "Once you start talking to [the homeless out there], you realize 'Hey that could be me or my brother or my cousin.' It's a lot of medical issues and circumstances where they don't have families. If you don't have family you really don't have a safety net, so if something happens you wind up in your car, you can't make the payments, then where do you go?"
An artist development rep for a major record label by day, Randers usually spends most of his time helping musicians in one way or another. When he's not at work you can probably find him promoting a local show, feeding some starving musicians with his burritos, or even piping up in a music video every so often He got his catchy nick name thanks to a cameo he did during a video shoot for OC's Radioactive Chicken Heads four years ago.
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"I’d lined up a video shoot for them at a local bowling alley that I used to book a lot of shows in and Aaron, the lead guy in the band, said ‘We really need a villain in this video.' And I said 'you need Colonel Sanders.' The band liked the idea—they liked it even more when Ulrich told them he had a full Colonel Sanders Halloween costume at his house. "I came back about an hour later in the full on get up," he remembers. "When they called me to set, they were like 'Colonel Randers...we need Colonel Randers to the set!' and it just stuck.”
This weekend, Ulrich and his vegan punk rock burritos return to the Doll Hut, along with a full slate of 12 bands going from 1:30-11 p.m.
“My shows are really super diverse. I usually try to do two or three types of genres of bands and put them together so the crowd turns over a bit," Ulrich says. As far as turning a profit to help the homeless, Colonel Randers says this event definitely has the right recipe for success. "We were always trying to hit up other local business before to raise money to do the burritos, but I think I'd rather do it this way, it's definitely a lot more fun."
Colonel Randers' Champagne Brunch is this Sunday at the Doll Hut, 1p.m. No cover. For full lineup and details, click here.