Loyal Coffee offers more than a cuppa Joe.
With a limited food menu, an array of alcoholic/nonalcoholic beverages, teas, a cool vibe and industrial chic décor, and, of course, coffee, Loyal is an exciting discovery. Attention to detail is evident from the flooring to the exposed venting system in the ceiling and everything in between. (Be sure to look up at the rope work.)
The coffee is roasted by the owners - six Colorado Springs baristas - off-site. The food, however, is prepared in an open-prep space the size of a walk-in closet. Orders are placed at the counter, but food is brought to tables.
The woman who took our order told us everything is delicious. This wasn't just a company line in the name of loyalty; she was sincere. We understood why after our meal.
The food menu is comprised of two parts: Toast and Not Toast. One of the first things that caught my eye was a mound of loaves of rustic-looking bread. It comes from La Baguette in Old Colorado City. A display case with pastries features goods from Old School Bakery. Otherwise, everything is made in-house.
I like toast, but apparently I've been pedestrian in my ideas about it. At Loyal, thick slices of bread are toasted and topped with an array of standard and surprising ingredients. It's butter, jam, peanut butter, honey and chocolate cashew for the former. The latter includes things like soft boiled eggs ($5); peanut butter and banana ($6); Andouille sausage with melted cheese on sourdough ($10), prosciutto and greens ($9) and our choice, pear with ricotta ($6).
The creamy ricotta featured thin slices of red pears drizzled with honey. It's a little messy to eat, but worth the sticky fingers afterward. The two pieces of hearty bread and its chewy crust provide complementary textures.
The Not Toast side of the menu offers only four items, including porridge - really! It's served until 11 a.m., but I'm sure Goldilocks would find it to be just right.
That leaves three only entrees from which to choose: Curry Polenta Bowl ($10); Pecan and Pear Salad ($7.50) and Andouille corn chowder ($7.50). It was easy to make a selection; we ordered everything.
My favorite, by a slim taste margin, was the cream-based soup. Diced potatoes, kernels of corn and small pieces of the just-right-amount-of-spicy sausage was like the Mardi Gras of flavor profiles: lively and fun.
The curry polenta bowl was surprising. It was chock-full of fresh vegetables, including, among others, cauliflower, yellow and green squash over polenta that absorbed the curry sauce. The emphasis was on the taste and not the potential heat curry can inflict.
Candied pecans and diced red pear are generously sprinkled among the greens piled high on the plate. This was easy to share and is a large enough serving to satisfy most appetites.
Although we didn't have coffee, we did have hibiscus rose tonic ($5) and sparkling ice tea ($4). The former was refreshing without being oversweet; it would be great as a mixer with a splash of gin. The tea, made from dried ginger and plum was almost bland in comparison.
Loyal has an outdoor space, which blends into the interior when the garage door is open on warm days. It was evident that Loyal Coffee has a, well, loyal following. Groups with strollers sat outside, business meetings were taking place, individuals diligently worked at laptops, and friends enjoyed being together.
Among the comments overheard from a few who ventured in for the first time related to being surprised that Loyal Coffee is in Colorado Springs. Yes, it is!