McCoy: All a-buzz at Mountain Grind
This Side of Berthoud
Sunday artistic gatherings
Mountain Grind Coffee and Bistro
Cooper Creek Square, Winter Park
Since the Mountain Grind perked up almost 11 years ago, owner, baker, prose-maker Susan Volk has welcomed a variety of artistic gatherings at the quaint space. She whisks to and fro among the delectable delights, makes sure to mix it up with customers at the front counter, and on Sundays, sprinkles in some extra culture.
All kinds of things, besides the smell of fresh-ground coffee beans, waft through the air at Mountain Grind Coffee and Bistro, at Cooper Creek Square in Winter Park. On occasion, music floats through the atmosphere, as do the sounds of laughter, applause, and intense-to-informal discussion.
Almost every Sunday during peak seasons, the “jack of all trades, and master of none” is hostess to philosophers, songwriters, artists, and people like, well, like Volk (and like an enormous amount of people in Grand County). Along with being a coffee and cookie celebrity, the Renaissance woman is a poet, studied literature, and has created pencil drawings and illustrations since a young age. She has also been a news director, copywriter, and disc jockey, among other things.
Host Glen Tompkins brings with him a background of instrumental and music education. When he’s not tickling the ivories at various venues, the international recording artist guides participants through three out of the four current rotating events.
The theme for this Sunday, June 26, is song. Anyone is welcome to come sing, discuss, and / or play original songs. Tompkins provides a PA, mic, keyboard, and a channel for acoustic guitar. Songwriters or composers are encouraged to contact Tompkins, but can also just show up. He said sometimes local bands pop in too. “Song” comes back around on the timetable Sunday, July 24 and Aug. 28.
“Word” is “the word” for Sunday, July 10 (and Aug. 14). It highlights language in all its forms, whether it be original poetry, prose, spoken word or short stories, even (clean) jokes. Guests may have an open mic available to stand, or sit at a table to share.
Life’s deepest secrets are to be pondered July 17 and Aug. 21. The “Socrates Café,” a regular philosophical discussion group, serves up a subject (suggested by participants) which is explored, and the different ways to look at the subject.
Volk jokes that she encourages the gatherings “so that I’m never bored,” but admits she’s always felt like a coffee shop should be a place people can share ideas. Through her wonderful smile and her Sunday clubs, she hopes to continue to allow people in the community a place to express their creativity.
“Everyone creates every day,” she said. “Sharing what makes us unique as artists is what makes the world go ‘round. We are supportive and interested in whatever anyone presents.”
“I really had to start from scratch,” the pastry chef said of the bistro. “I’m really proud how far we’ve come in 10 years.” And she’s proud of those who helped her rise to the occasion. Several highschoolers from Hot Sulphur Springs “have become friends,” she said. “It’s a gift to me.”
The Sundays are the icing on the cake. “They’re so much fun to do,” Volk said. She hopes to see a writer’s workshop return, and welcomes new ideas for future events (some of them she’s turning over are a clean joke night, and something similar to “The Moth” with storytelling). Guest hosts are also encouraged to see what’s cooking.
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