Located in the heart of the South Wedge, Boulder Coffee Co. has eked out the essence of Boulder, Colo. (the namesake) and transplanted its relaxed and rustic expansiveness to Rochester, N.Y.

This coffee shop takes what most cafs try to do transport you to another place and blows others away by recreating the vibe of a city over 1,600 miles away.

Walking into Boulder is a bit like approaching the Rocky Mountain Range itself. Its spaciousness and neck-craning height (there are raised ceilings) immediately say to you, ‘Welcome. We have leg room. Go ahead and sprawl.”

Unlike a lot of other cafs, you don’t feel like you’re being watched in Boulder. People mind their own business for the most part, which is probably another result of the vast space available.

People don’t have to climb over each other to get a good seat, and no one is snooping over your shoulder at any given moment. There is room to breathe there.

The dcor is what you’d expect to find in a Colorado ski lodge, with a modern-coffee-shop twist to it (like the impressionist purple painting of Christopher Walken).

The coffee shop comes up short of the ski lodge feel with its absence of fireplaces, yet there is a sense of hearth to the place, from the five well-worn couches, to low, chestnut wood coffee tables, to the small, round tables with sturdy chairs.

Glass windows sprawl about half of the interior, with a great view of one of Rochester’s busier intersections (Clinton Avenue and Alexander Street).

Another corner of the coffee shop features a raised stage large enough to fit a four-person band and their instruments comfortably, with a piano permanently fixed upstage center.
Along the back wall is the food and drink bar. One complaint people have of many coffee shops is how confusing they make it to order (a la Starbucks anyone? What does ‘venti” mean again?). Boulder’s sizes are reassuringly your standard small, medium and large. The staff is consistently down-to-earth, helpful and patient with those who don’t know what they want.

At the same time, just because you take your time ordering doesn’t mean they take a long time creating.

The service is speedy and, if you order food, they’ll bring it right to your seat. I’ve never seen them forget a person or act reluctant to deliver a meal, no matter how busy they might be.

Boulder’s menu is one that allows you to actually eat something substantial in a coffee shop. It’s not just muffins and biscottis (although they do have those, too, and good ones).
Boulder has an on-site kitchen, and the staff can whip up anything from breakfast sandwiches topped with sizzling sausage and oozing cheese on a bagel to salads that explode off of plates bigger than your face.

Personally, I’d recommend the Alexandrian Salad: fresh mesclun greens topped with tart raspberries, sun-dried tomatoes and thin almond slivers.

The best thing about Boulder? It’s genuinely chill. There is no pretense.

People are relaxed there, and not because that’s how you’re supposed to act in a caf, but because they truly feel that way.

Boulder Coffee Co. is arguably the Eddie Bauer of Rochester cafs: rugged and practical with flannel-clad staff.

And while some staff are wearing this flannel attire because it’s the latest fall fashion, according to Elle Magazine, others in Boulder are sporting their flannels just as they have for the past 15 years, blissfully ignorant of Elle and its columnists’ fashion advice.
If you make it to Boulder on a Thursday afternoon, you’re in for a particular sweet treat.
The South Wedge Farmer’s Market sets up every Thursday (before winter sets in) from 4 to 7 p.m. in the parking lot behind Boulder.

Stop in at the Market for some fresh and juicy red tomatoes or organic wine and then make your way inside Boulder’s for a latte.

Getting to Boulder isn’t an impossible pilgrimage, either. From River Campus, take Mount Hope Avenue to Alexander, and turn right when you see a picket fence with mountaintops cut in to the top.

By car, it’s maybe a five-minute drive, and Boulder has plenty of free parking. You can also ride your bike there easily (I did it), and it’s less than a 15-minute ride.

If you don’t have access to any wheels whatsoever, either motor- or leg-powered, take the Red Line.

The bus runs down Alexander, and you can either get off at the corner of Monroe and Alexander and walk or simply request to be dropped off at the corner of Clinton and Alexander. Besides, the bus will usually stop there anyway because Boulder is a common drop-off for UR students already.

For more info on performances, visit http://www.myspace.com/bouldercoffeeco.

For information on the South Wedge Farmers Market, visit http://www.swfarmersmarket.org. Enjoy!

Ryan is a member of the class of 2009.



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