Bike shop and café may seem like an unlikely combination, but the recently established reCyclery in Denver blends the two concepts so well that one might think that they were destined to become a pair – like organic peanut butter and homemade small-batch jam – or kolache and chai (trust me on this one).
The reCyclery is located at the corner of 14th and Ogden in Capital Hill, housed in a historic building circa 1894. The space is divided into the bike shop, which has been operating for a couple months now, and the café, which just opened on January 25th.
The upcycled interior is a testament to efforts made by long time friends and co-founders Justin Worrell and Brian Klees toward environmentalism and sustainability. The floors are made from beetle kill wood and the bar stools are charmingly recycled bike seats. The café tables are surrounded by an eclectic mix of previously owned chairs. Large wooden estate-sale boxes are used in the bike shop as rustic showcases.
“Everything in there is recycled except the lights,” said Klees, motioning toward the café area. And it’s worth noting that even those sport energy efficient CFL bulbs. He and Worrell, a former contractor, did most of the work themselves, over a period of about six months. Worrell noted that furnishing with recycled materials was good business sense, allowing them to save a little money on building materials while adding immeasurable character to the space.
The upcycled walls boast colorful work by local artists. “We’re going to feature 3 different local artists each month, [and] give them access to our space to do shows,” said Klees. He added that they don’t charge artists a commission for using the space, so proceeds from any work sold go directly to the artist.
A whimsical chalkboard menu hanging over the counter features vegetarian and vegan options, among other more omnivorous fare. Everything is designed to be handheld so that bicyclists might stop in and comfortably take something along for the ride (although the indoor space is so sunny and inviting that it’s hard not to sit and stay for a while). They also offer baked goods including a particularly scrumptious sugar cookie with a peach jam topping (I couldn’t resist).
Chef Francis Rojas, a Johnson and Wales graduate, explained that the meat they use is locally sourced and the gourmet coffee comes from local company Elevation Coffee Traders, which is certified by the Rainforest Alliance. She also added that she’s happy to modify items for guests with dietary restrictions.
“We’re working towards a gluten-free menu as well, but we don’t have the equipment right now to provide that,” added Worrell, explaining that to offer customers truly gluten-free menu options requires an investment in special equipment along with time and money spent on kitchen sanitization. The kitchen equipment is, however, all Energy Star rated for better efficiency.
The bike shop offers the sale of upcycled bikes as well as bike consignment. Bicyclists can also come in to be measured for the proper size bike frame, to buy parts and to have repairs done. They try to repair bikes with used parts, but order new ones if necessary. As long as they don’t have to order parts, customers can expect bike repairs done within 24 hours.
The owners have a host of other plans for the shop, including a bike valet, a bike-through window, (a variation on the drive-through) and taking out some of the Ogden-facing windows to put in garage doors and an indoor-outdoor bar. In the near future, they’d like to get a beer and liquor license for when they host events. Klees mentioned that they’re gearing up for the summer season and planning summer events, including some involving the Denver Cruisers.
The shop also partners with Denver Food Rescue and is working on an endorsement by Certifiably Green Denver. You can keep up with the reCyclery at recyclerybikecafe.com or by visiting their facebook page.
Hours: 6 am-8 pm Monday through Friday. Weekend hours may vary.
Location: 1405 Ogden St, Denver CO
Free Wifi: yes
Loads of personality: yes