It's rare to associate pears with sandwiches, unless the fruit happens to be a brown-bag accompaniment to a PB&J or your favorite deli concoction. So it's beyond rare to stumble upon a sandwich in which the pome fruit stars as the central ingredient ... in a coffee shop ... in Pueblo. And it's also irresistibly alluring.
At Wireworks Coffeehouse, just off Union Avenue above the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk, they execute their open-faced pear sandwich ($8.50) by smearing a thick bleu cheese spread over basic whole-wheat toast pieces and lining them with as many pear wedges as will fit. They then place the loaded halves atop organic mixed greens, rain them with walnut crumbles, and drizzle with Annie's Naturals raspberry vinaigrette.
The result is sweet, light and simple, yet rich and complexly flavored, perhaps best described as bearing a very European aesthetic. And though you could easily use the base description above to replicate it at home, that doesn't mean you should. You'd miss out on other Wireworks attributes.
Among them are daily soups ($2.75 cup/$4.25 bowl), such as an outstanding curried butternut squash, whose vibrant spice satisfied even on a 90-plus-degree day. And other interesting sandwich options like the tempeh Reuben ($8.50 includes a side salad), which subs the fermented, whole soybeans for corned beef, provolone for Swiss and a vegan Thousand Island dressing for its standard counterpart — all with sauerkraut on organic rye bread. (Wireworks, a vegetarian outfit, tries to use organic ingredients when possible.)
For those who shy from vegan-power products like tempeh — the sandwich is admittedly a little dense, though otherwise tasty — options such as a black bean burger, pizza bagel, veggie hummus sandwich and organic greens salads (all around $9) are plenty approachable.
There are also breakfast items like granola, oatmeal and waffles ($3.25-$5.25), served all day, and a spread of daily, house-made gourmet cakes and pastries, backed by a creative array of flavored coffee drinks. Wireworks procures all its organic coffees and drink mixes from Colorado Springs' High Rise Coffee Roasters.
My cappuccino was as good as they come, with perfect foam and a smooth, non-bitter espresso. We sampled two Mocafe blended fruit crémes ($3.15-$4.40), flavored powders mixed with whole milk and ice, called "frappes" on Wireworks menu. Think not-too-sweet, slushy milkshakes with refreshingly non-synthetic flavors. The green tea and banana flavors we can vouch for.
Large, vegan strawberry and non-vegan blueberry-almond muffins ($2.25) proved plenty moist, and the vegan version didn't suffer from the dryness, gumminess or crumbliness that many do. Generously sized peanut butter and sugar cookies ($1.65 each) also held up well.
Wireworks has been in this smartly decorated location for roughly three years, after having moved from a former gas station off Abriendo Avenue. The décor is coffee-shop chic with local artwork, river-facing windows and clean black tables and chairs. The accommodating staff will also deliver to a set of shaded tables located outside at river level.
The coffeehouse certainly deserves a stop-in when already visiting the Riverwalk, if not a planned visit to enjoy the pear sandwich and relaxing atmosphere.