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Food at the Riverside now feeds hungry co-workers at Fuse

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The next step in the evolution of Fuse at the Riverside is here: Food at the Riverside, a gourmet café serving seasonal dishes at a surprisingly affordable price.

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Regular readers may remember an article previewing good things to come at Fuse. Of the co-working environments in downtown Boulder, it's the one that's been constantly under construction. That's because it's got high ambitions. It aims to live up to its historic location, filling that space with multiple kinds of space: quiet spaces for work and for relaxation, social networking and brainstorming spaces, sunny spaces, shady spaces, conference-having spaces, event-hosting spaces, spaces for feeding the belly and the soul.

The event-having space, Agora, has been in place for much of last year, hosting conferences, yoga sessions, dance classes, and more. And of course Fuse itself, which comprises the Commons open work area downstairs and the Loft with its private desks for rent, swung into action from the get-go, providing space to work and community to work with. For paid-up members, Fuse offers office hours with local experts, events like the monthly(ish) show-and-tell that is "Tinker Hour," and community traditions like the Friday afternoon beer social. Among other things.

All through last year, the café area has been undergoing construction. Members and visitors alike have wondered, "What will it look like when it's done? When will the noise stop? Most importantly, when do we get to eat?" Boulder, your questions now have answers. Food at the Riverside (formerly envisioned as "Bite Café") is here. And it's already making waves.

The chef behind the cuisine is Corey Buck, the proprietor of much-missed Boulder landmark John's Restaurant. That sentence right there should give you high expectations; Food at the Riverside fulfills them. Breakfast and lunch offerings feature locally sourced ingredients blended into attractive and tasty dishes. The menu will be changing with seasonal availability.

This winter, your Examiner has become enamored of the lobster benedict: one egg perfectly poached atop spinach and sun-dried tomato on a substantial English muffin, the whole drizzled in hollandaise sauce and topped with a lengthwise half of cold-water lobster tail. At $7 ($6 until very recently) it's the best deal on a dish with a lobster component you'll find most anywhere outside of Boston. I was tempted away from it by today's "benedict of the day," which featured chorizo and rock shrimp. The shrimp was perfectly cooked, plump and taut and succulent. The price of the benedict of the day varies, but generally hovers around $5 or $6.

There's something pleasantly decadent about having a late breakfast at the office before getting down to business. And have I mentioned the discount for full Fuse members? Full-time members get 15% off their tab, and the option to run that tab weekly rather than per purchase. That "Victorian-era club" sensation is getting stronger.

There's only one downside of Food at the Riverside having opened: it converts the streetside seating area into dining rather than working space. Not that you can't set up with your laptop up there, but you should follow café etiquette when you do: order a drink or a meal, tip proportionately to your stay, aim for off-hours if you plan to linger and/or be willing to give up your space to incoming diners should the busy hour arrive. And if you're a 24/7-access member, you sadly no longer can work in the café space outside of Food's operational hours, but must proceed directly to the Commons or the Loft.

Ah, well. Small price to pay for effectively checking off one more item on Maslow's hierarchy of needs (which, as we all know, consists of food, shelter, community, and wi-fi, right? Alcohol and chocolate optional).

Construction continues on and off downstairs. We're still eagerly anticipating the arrival of "The Cellar," an extension of Food at the Riverside that will offer cocktails, small plates and dinner. You'll want to check in often to keep up on the latest news.

Have a bite or a sip while you do.


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