Boxcar Coffee Roasters, a Boulder-based coffee roaster with a cult following, is on the verge of opening a location in RiNo's in the newest building on the TAXI campus, DRIVE. The coffee shop will share an 1800 square foot space on the first floor of the four-story building with reFuel, a more casual, sandwich-driven version of Fuel Cafe. Fuel Cafe, the restaurant owned by chef Bob Blair, has opened its first and fuller iteration at TAXI over five years ago.
The space, designed by architect Stephen Dynia, integrates the functions of the coffee shop and sandwich counter into the life of the building. The two businesses are the center of the light-filled two-story lobby, with the coffee counter in the middle area and reFuel occupying a North wall. There is varied and modular seating that encourages informal interaction but also allows flexibility in space.
Stainless tables located on a slidable track allow for varied configurations and provide a reference to the adjacent train yard. A laptop bar is located outside, separated by three fully-operable garage doors, in the midst of additional outdoor seating. An upstairs lounge area provides additional seating and possible meeting and party space. The space makes extensive use of recycled materials, including re-purposed discarded gym floor from eastern Colorado and the recycled palette rack mezzanine. The space is fully wired for audio/video, including TV programming with a focus on cycling and other Euro sports not otherwise available.
Collaboration and space-sharing are not new to Boxcar - the coffee business shares its original Boulder shop with Cured, a cheese and specialty foods store. Before it began it retail business, Boxcar roasted beans for several restaurants, Frasca Food and Wine being among them. Vajra Rich, along with his partner and wife Cara, has mastered both high-altitute roasting and high-altitude coffee brewing with a unique temperature control system that allows steeping coffee grounds at exactly 203 degrees. If chemistry isn't your thing, that translates to some damn good cups of coffee. Which is what Boxcar plans to serve starting next week.
ReFuel, the sister sandwich counter to Bob Blair's Fuel Cafe, will serve a small breakfast menu, including five kinds of made-to-order burritos and house-made pastries. The lunch will focus faster, more affordable specialty sandwiches, ranging between $7 to $9, including Fuel's beloved Cubano and a bahn mi. There are eleven options on the menu, all boasting playful names like Castro for the Cubano and Wish It Was Il Mondo Vecchio for the Italian. Chef Todd Soma will be Blair's right hand man at reFuel.
Boxcar and reFuel are both slated to open to the public next week. This coming summer, Boxcar will open an additional location in RiNo in the Source, a European-style artisan market set to open in June on Brighton Boulevard.