23 August 2006

Heirloom Cafe In; Perk and Pub Out

The Wash Park Perk and Pub, at Ohio and S. Emerson Streets, has been replaced by the Heirloom Cafe, which involves both a new name and look, and new owners. It opened about a week ago. It had the usual free Wi-Fi, assortment of coffee drinks and sweets, but also features Belgian Sugar Waffles. The breakfast burritos and pizza are gone. It has also replaced the "family room" look and feel of its predecessor with the look of your parents' little used parlor, but with more people in it than your parents' parlor ever saw.

Stay at home moms and dads out about town should note that it is quite kid friendly (the proprietor's pre-schooler hangs out at the cafe), and dog walkers should note that it has retained dog friendly amenities like a big water bowl for dogs and a tie off bar right outside the door next to a window where you can keep an eye on your furry friends while you get a coffee.

The Wash Park Perk and Pub had gained press in small business against city hall strugle, for turning an old office space next to a laundrymat into a community gathering place, but facing hangups over a patio which the city approved, and then withdrew approval from in the face of pressure from the West Washington Park Neighborhood Association (it ultimately took no official stand on the matter IIRC). The struggle was colored by the fact that a neighborhood association officer lived basically next door.

Perk and Pub's neighborhood association relationship was also troubled by a deep seated neighborhood association aversion to liquor licenses (even of the nice cafe-vino variety at an early stage -- they argue that it could become something worse under a new owner once a license is in place), even though the "Pub" part of the concept that survived in the name was abandoned almost immediately at the Wash Park location. The concern about bars is perhaps a bit quaint. But, keep in mind that this neighborhood was first incorporated as part of the City of South Denver which was formed for the express purpose of shutting down the bars that were proliferating on South Broadway. South Denver faded into history a few years later when it merged with the City of Denver, but apparently, the sentiment still survives today.

When the Wash Park Perk and Pub opened, it had hoped to last until T-Rex was done, then catch the traffic down Emerson Street that normally guides a steady stream of traffic headed from I-25 to downtown past its door, but this didn't happen in time to save the Perk and Pub. Heirloom Cafe's owners, who benefit from this restored surge of traffic (the Emerson Street exit from I-25 opened yesterday) are optimistic about their prospects, despite competition from Roast Coffee about three blocks away across the street from Lincoln Elementary School, and a Starbucks at Downing and Alameda.

Renovations were brief enough that much of the existing traffic has continued.


Anonymous said...

someone please tell me why they have to keep the "infused" coarse-filtered method for making their coffee. who wants a cup of joe with a thick layer of sludge at the bottom? not me. please heirloom, offer a paper filter.

Anonymous said...

Well, I LOVE what they've done with the place! It's stylish, cheerful, comfortable. I really enjoy walking over from Wash Park to sit and yummy up on a latte and pastry on Saturday mornings.

Anonymous said...

We serve Artisan Brewed coffee because it is a superior brewing method. Using a paper filter reduces the quality of the coffee by filtering out the essential flavor compounds that create a truly delicious cup of coffee. In addition, once the coffee is brewed through a paper filter, it takes on the flavors of the paper, thereby further reducing the quality of the coffee.

If, however, you would rather have the coffee without what you refer to as "sludge," please feel free to request a paper filter next time you stop in. We have actually had them since Day One, but no one has ever asked about them.

Anonymous said...

Wash Park Prophet:

We'd love to know what you think of our place, now that it's been a year since your last post about us. I hope you'll stop in soon and let us know what you think of the changes we've made as we've grown over the last 12 months. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Heirloom Cafe closed in October of last year -- a new place, Wash Perk, opened April 2008. The coffee house has been completely renovated into expanded space, but still has its wonderful outdoor patio. Wash Perk offers vegan and gluten free snack options and serves Kaladi Brothers coffee. Dog and bike friendly!