Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The World Cafe

I went to the “World Cafe’s” soft opening party knowing nothing. I had never been to Cuvee, the wine bar of the same owners previously in its place and knew nothing about the new one. What I expected to find was a new chic restaurant, too hip for its own good, competing for the talkative slick-dressed tapa crowd. I was surprised however, and delighted, to find that the World Cafe has a much broader world and community outlook than I had anticipated and that their goals and passions go well beyond serving up tasty tapas in an under-lit overpriced setting. On the contrary, I was very impressed with the Cafe.

More than anything, the World Cafe is a meeting place for passionate, excited entrepreneuring people. It is a place to foster connections and make new ones. Reading their dreamy, esoteric mission statement does little justice to the Cafe’s outreach and community involvement. It is designed to encourage interaction. This is obvious when first setting foot into the World Cafe. “This is a place,” said Christine, the Cafe’s general manager, “to plug out of the wall and into the community.” The restaurant itself is aesthetically designed to encourage this kind of interaction. The tables are arranged like cocktail tables, conducive to round table discussions, groups of friends and business meetings yet intimate enough to be a great place to take your sweetie. The dinner service is entirely small-plate tapas, the perfect shared snack for a few people but a poor substitute for the dig-your-fork-in, total commitment meal I’m often seeking.

Regardless, the food itself was delicious. It was very simple and fresh tasting, with plates like their Roasted Pork in a jalapeno and orange sauce or their Dating Salad with shredded carrots, Turkish dates and mint, making it very easy to go through plate after tiny plate of food. They also have a full breakfast, lunch and happy hour service, keeping them open for the better part of the day. The food however, is mainly the vehicle for the interaction they hope to inspire and attract.

Ralph Reutimann, the owner and visionary behind the World Cafe, has a rich cultural and culinary history, all of which is integrated into the fabric of his new restaurant. Along with the obvious delicious food component, the Cafe will be hosting lectures, panel discussions and film screenings, making it more of a meeting place than just a restaurant. The World Cafe promises to be a rich addition to Boulder’s community outposts for anyone who has a philosophy group gone rampant and in need of a gathering place. Keep your eyes out for upcoming events and in the meantime, stop by for some great food! But don’t bring your laptop.

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