Glen Fox lives just down the street, but R & R Coffee in Black Forest is his home-away-from-home. "They have a really good roast beef sandwich. You won't find another one like it anywhere. They do it with a special vinaigrette sauce," he says. Just as importantly, "this is really the center of the community," he continues. "They've had a huge impact since they opened five years ago."
Located at the intersection of Black Forest and Burgess Road, R&R Coffee is at the heart of the Black Forest community in more ways than one. That became crystal clear in the smoky aftermath of the Black Forest fire, which came within 3 miles of the building. "The eggs in our walk-in cooler were scrambled: that's how intense the heat was," says Danielle, who owns the cafe with her husband Ryan Wanner and her mother, Carla, the pastry chef.
Despite losing "a couple grand" worth of ingredients and dealing with the loss of Carla's home, the R&R owners quickly jumped in to do all they could.
"We opened as soon as we could, just to bring normalcy back," Danielle explains. "We became the hub where all of the emergency responders would meet. We held a 'barista jam' - kind of a latte art throwdown - to raise money for fire relief efforts, and we supported many of the disaster relief organizations."
The cafe continues to host ongoing fire recovery updates from City Commissioner Darryl Glenn every Friday from 2-4 p.m.
R&R is housed in a former lumberyard, featuring uniquely cozy dining spaces and reclaimed Colorado wood accents. The cafe is best-known for its fresh-roasted coffee (sold under the brand-name Golden Pine) homemade cinnamon rolls and the breakfast-all-day menu. Ranch Foods Direct is a key supplier. RFD provides the chicken served in sandwiches and salads, the burgers (on "Whimpy Wednesdays diners can build their own) and the popular bacon and roast beef. Callicrate steaks are served at dinner, Friday and Saturday. (Delayed by the fire, R&R has now started offering its weekend dinner service from 4 to 9 p.m.)
Danielle says many locals are excited about the new dinner service since they like having a place to go that's close to home. Surrounded by postcard perfect beauty and a neighborly vibe, who can blame them?
R&R Coffee Cafe is at 11424 Black Forest Road; 719-494-8300; www.rnrcoffeecafe.com
"We grow vegetables on a quarter-acre on our property at Monument, all organic, no chemicals. I pickle the produce we grow and also do a line of jams and jellies that we sell.
The first canning class I ever took was at Ranch Foods Direct about four years ago - it was taught by Bonnie Simon of Chickens in the Kitchen, and it was on how to can peaches. That got me motivated, and I started pickling from there.
We get cow manure from Ranch Foods Direct for fertilizer that my husband Lovell tills into the soil. It's an excellent supplement! We don't have to worry if it's good fertilizer; we know there won't be any chemicals in it.
We also shop at Ranch Foods Direct. We love the boneless short ribs of beef! We do the oxtails for stew. I use a pressure cooker, and I use red wine and oyster sauce to make the gravy. That's some really good gravy." - Arlene Hinton, owner of Blue Skies Organic Vegetables, 719-242-5365
Arlene will be at the Colorado Farm and Art winter market at Ivywild School, 10-2 p.m., Sat., Nov. 23, with her pickles. Stop by and say hi!
Celebrate FOOD DAY on Wed., Oct. 30, with Colorado College.