Granby coffee lounge pours on the atmosphere
April 16, 2008
When Christy Downing purchased the old Dianas Pizzeria space at Pine Cone Plaza in Granby, she envisioned a coffee lounge with a breezy, sunny feel similar to what one might picture in Hawaii.It puts you in a good mood even if its snowing out there, she said.The successful businesswoman, who admits she works hard all winter so that the can golf and boat in the summer, already owns The Paper Clip (2003) a couple doors down at Pine Cone Plaza. Plus, she sold the Grand Lake Laundromat last year.Downing wanted this new venture to be one in which customers would come to hang out and enjoy a good cup of java.Abundant large windows and a glass front door let in plenty of light, which reflects off the shiny counter displays inside at the front bistro-style cafe. Signs point to paradise (there and toward the comfy back lounge) and the laid-back atmosphere is complemented by easy-listening tunes, tropical plants and a relaxation fountain.Among a variety of gourmet and whimsical items is an overflowing variety of tea and coffee, as well as specialty espresso drinks. The cafe/lounge serves up a variety of European coffees from the Scottish Roaster in Denver, with a house Guatemalan blend, a Kona variety and four different flavors daily.But the savvy businesswoman didnt stop there. She saw too few choices for breakfasts on the weekend days in Granbys downtown, so the menu grew to include breakfast, lunch and dessert.It started as a coffee shop, but with the kitchen there I thought Id use it, she said, once customers voiced their desires for breakfast items. Im keeping it simple, but good.To help get you started in the morning the, Java Lava offers the eggsemplary basics and specials (with unique names to make it fun, and naming some dishes in honor of her best friends). There are also pancakes, muffins, bagels, the G Town skillet, and Christys breakfast burrito served until 11 a.m., when the Java Lava kitchen switches to lunch.But turning on a fryer will not be part of this routine. Downing said she wanted to make sure to try and not introduce fried foods to the menu at the Java Lava Cafe. Instead, customers may choose from a display of kettle-style chips that come with the afternoon wrap and hot and cold sandwich (including hamburger) offerings. Phil Es Philly has also apparently become a popular choice.The Java Lava also offers soups, salads, and combinations with a sandwich or wrap. For more than just a lump or two of sugar, there are pies, cookies, cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, hard ice cream and occasional slices of carrot cake.Downings office is a tiki hut, toward the back lounge and all its comforts plush leather couches, library, board games and garage door to open during good weather.Its all good, she said of the experience so far, including community support and customer feedback.For its first year Downing hopes that people just give us a chance.Before Java Lava, the space was slated for a Fiesta Jalisco chain after a short-lived stint as the Pizzeria.Its kind of been a rough spot, Downing said. The unit became available and thats when I decided to do something, she said. Business has been great. Its been very exciting a new adventure for me, and I like a challenge.Fiesta Jalisco apparently stripped the place of almost everything when the company bought Dianas, so Downing replaced all the equipment and made sure to use local businesses when she could (including local furniture, lighting, and granite countertops). She also had to remodel the back warehouse and added new flooring and WiFi service. Shed like to put a deck and tables outside, off the back lounge, obtain a beer and wine license, host some entertainment, and maybe even do some catering (the back room is already available for reservation/meeting space). Theres all kinds of options, Downing said. Its endless.One can see her mental wheels already turning toward the next opportunity, a business sense she learned early on with brother Craig as the siblings helped and watched their parents run Circle D Foods and deli (and the laundromat) in Grand Lake, which Craig runs now. Id also love to get another gym up here, maybe even a book store, Downing added. Theres just so much opportunity up here.For now she hopes locals and visitors drop by for a good ol cup of Joe and leave happy, relaxed, in a good mood and with a full stomach.