It's beyond improbable that a restaurant should suffer a debilitating fire the same week we choose to review it.
But just as the Indy was headed for print Wednesday, we received word that what looks to be a faulty ventilation motor caused a blaze that will keep Monument's Coffee Cup Café closed for at least a couple months.
It's a sad situation for the recently renovated café, and, much less importantly, bad timing for us. But if there's a silver lining, perhaps it's that any interest generated here will be much appreciated when owners Jeremy and Wendy Diggins reopen the doors.
We were going to tell you it's well worth a visit anyway.
The café has operated just off Second Street in Monument for 30 years; an offshoot, the fresh-faced A Second Cup, landed a year ago in Gleneagle.
At 13, Jeremy Diggins started helping out at the Coffee Cup, a diner that exudes historic, homey charm; you could imagine tying a horse to a post outside. (Since the fire didn't touch the dining room, that shouldn't change a bit.) After a stint in the Marines, he returned and bought the diner, intent on maintaining its reputation for down-home breakfast and lunch items at fair prices.
That was nearly 10 years ago. Today, the Coffee Cup pays homage to the Broncos on one wall and Monument life on the other. The servers are seasoned and anticipate family needs, like kiddie cups and crayons, which they drop off with quick wit and easy smiles.
Alongside the hefty breakfast menu of huevos rancheros, pancakes and chicken-fried steak and eggs, lunch offers good renditions of classics like Reubens and B.L.T. sandwiches (each $6.49). When you get there, don't leave without trying a thick, moist wedge of pound cake ($2.99) topped with fruit and whipped cream.
The same way Diggins has captured a bit of Monument in the Coffee Cup, he and his wife Wendy have created a fittingly modern outfit in Gleneagle.
A Second Cup sports all the comforts: a coffee bar, spacious booths, slick lighting and select microbrews. A glass-encased patio offers great views of the Front Range. On its breakfast/lunch menu, the biscuits and gravy ($5.89), doused in pork sausage gravy and served along outstanding country potatoes, help explain A Second Cup's recent Best Breakfast recognition by KXRM FOX 21. The new red potatoes, parboiled, chopped and cooked on the flat top with onions and seasoning, tasted as good at the ones served in Monument.
Dinner is where A Second Cup shows its inexperience. The artichoke lahvosh ($6.99) with Gorgonzola and Asiago cheeses and sundried tomatoes on flatbread proved a bit soggy, and my plate's cheese hadn't fully melted. The salmon ($12.99), though served with delicious, crisp-roasted vegetables, arrived overcooked and dry. Our massive pork carnitas burrito ($8.99) with a signature green chili had all the right flavors and tender pork, but arrived lukewarm. It's possible a large party on the patio that evening stretched the kitchen unusually thin, but soggy, dry and lukewarm are what they are, and not what anyone wants.
The Digginses have said they're aware of the newbie's dinner kinks, and will address them — though that may have to wait until they fix the Coffee Cup's fire damage. Considering their track record, we'll bet both places will emerge better than before.