I’m a pretty big fan of coffee – any caffeine really, but coffee easily surpasses soda and battery-acid-flavored energy drinks as my drink of choice. And after nearly four years of Java City and waiting in a never-ending line for a mediocre cup of Starbucks, I’ve become sick of campus options. So discovering Boulder Coffee Co.’s great coffee was a pleasant surprise, though the food unfortunately resembles a Hillside lunch.

Boulder Coffee Co. was the first coffee shop I’ve visited in Rochester that felt authentic. Located in the South Wedge District, the antique-looking brick of the building’s exterior more closely resembles an old factory, but the interior is warm and inviting. The array of comfy couches could easily have been salvaged from the set of “That 70s Show,” yet the true focus of the decoration revolves around the display of local artwork covering every inch of the wall.

The restaurant’s support for local arts doesn’t stop with the wall hangings. Boulder Coffee Co. features a small stage where local bands, poets and comedians perform weekly. It also sponsors Boulderfest, an annual festival highlighting local artists and musicians.

I was greeted by a heavily tattooed woman who stood behind a wooden counter that exposed a small kitchen. Artistically written on a chalkboard were a number of coffee varieties, alcoholic beverages, Panini, breakfast sandwiches and salads. Many of the meals acknowledged the shop’s South Wedge roots with names like “Cuban Alexander” and “South Wedge Veg.”

I chose the “Assorted Averill,” a Panini sandwich with ham, salami, capicola, mozzarella cheese, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and Italian dressing. I also ordered fresh squeezed lemonade, and though I did see the waitress squeeze a half lemon into the glass, the syrup and water that were also added made me question the term “fresh squeezed.” We were told that our meals would be brought out to us, so we sat down at a round, wooden table near the window. Granted, the window looked out onto the ugly corner of South Clinton and Alexander Street, but the intriguing artwork was distracting enough to not notice to view.

The food was served promptly, but portions were small, especially for $7. The slightly stale chips served on the side of my meal were obviously just poured from a large generic bag. The Italian dressing on the sandwich was overwhelming and, soon after my first bite, most of it had collected in a puddle on my plate. I walked up to the counter, hoping that a hot cup of coffee would salvage the meal – and it did. I ordered a small “Boulder Blend,” a medium roast that was incredibly flavorful. It was a pleasant ending to the mediocre meal and the to-go cup was perfect to take back to campus.

Fischer is a member of the class of 2008.

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