Cheryl Seligman, Features Editor

Surrounded on three sides by the Genesee River and on the fourth by Mount Hope Cemetery, UR’s self-sufficient River Campus can virtually feel like a bubble. So, adventurous students who are eager to explore beyond the confines of campus may find themselves at a small, flourishing coffee shop nestled on the edge of the river in the 19th Ward.

Last year, Boulder Coffee Co. — accessible by the footbridge near the residential quad — moved from its location at 955 Genesee St. to 960 Genesee St., a smaller property located just across the road, at the intersection of Genesee Street and Brooks Avenue, opposite from Staybridge Suites.

Boulder offers free Wi-Fi and serves as an excellent place for students to study, particularly those who prefer to work amid a quiet hum rather than total silence.

“I come mostly on the weekend,” Take 5 Scholar Kate Garner said.  “I don’t study well when it’s too quiet.”

Freshman Danie Bendesky agreed that the shop makes for an ideal study spot. “Boulder is perfect for studying; it’s noisy, but not obnoxiously so,” she said.

In the morning, sunlight floods into the new building from all sides.  The multi-colored stage lighting and vibrant walls decorated with local art contribute to Boulder’s relaxing, hip ambiance.

“I like the natural light,” junior Cindy Zu noted,  “and the artwork is just what you’d expect in a coffee shop.”

The new location features mainly the same menu options: breakfast sandwiches, bagels, salads, coffees, teas, muffins, pastries, bottled beverages, beer and panini sandwiches. For students looking to escape the monotony of campus dining, the sandwiches and coffee cocktails are a perfect and inventive alternative to anything offered in UR’s dining halls. There are usually two employees working at a time and they are generally very quick to fill drink and food orders.

All of Boulder’s panini sandwiches are named after some of Rochester’s landmarks; the South Wedge Veg, Corn Hill Grill and Cobbs Hill Cajun are just a few examples.

The Winton Cordon Bleu — a sandwich composed of sliced grilled chicken breast, ham, Swiss cheese, tomato, onion and honey mustard — is a favorite among locals. The ingredients are fresh, the portion sizes are suitable for lunch or midday meals and customers are given the freedom to choose between a side salad and chips.

Another perk of Boulder is its wide variety of seating options; there are couches, booths, armchairs and benches, and the tables come in many sizes.  All are dispersed along the perimeter of a large, metallic coffee bar, behind which sits a shelf holding an assortment of different roasts and blends.

“There are more drink options than at Starbucks and the coffee is stronger,” Bendesky pointed out. In addition to attracting UR students, Boulder is also a hub of local community activity in the 19th Ward.  During the shop’s operating hours, coffee aficionados of all sorts — police officers, local community groups, students, businessmen, young couples and parents with young children — appear to take pleasure in the quiet buzz of Boulder.

Striving to support local bands, comedians and artists, Boulder routinely hosts open mic comedy and jam nights throughout the week.  Between its five locations throughout Rochester, there are only six days in February that Boulder is not hosting a local band or open mic comedy night.

Despite its many appeals, Boulder has certain disadvantages. The new shop is smaller than the old one and consequently lacks the second-floor seating area that many students previously enjoyed at the old location.

On the other hand, the shop’s new location is cozy and has less unused space.

Another disadvantage is that Boulder is not equipped with a flex machine — a convenience that might attract more UR students — and though the sunlight is charming in the early morning, the interior lighting is not sufficient later in the day, especially during the winter.

“When it hits 6 p.m. it becomes practically pitch black,” senior Joey Shapiro said.

Yet Boulder will not disappoint students looking to travel beyond UR’s borders to sample some non-campus dining options, or study with a cup of coffee in a bustling local hub.

Volkov is a member of the class of 2012.

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