Boulder chef Alec Schuler announced at the end of 2017 that he was looking for a buyer for Arugula, his nine-year-old restaurant at 2785 Iris Avenue. Arugula's lease was set to expire in July, and Schuler was looking to get out of the dinner business to focus more on his breakfast and lunch eatery, Tangerine (2777 Iris Avenue). Since that announcement, things have moved quickly and Arugula has sold, so the chef will close the restaurant at 10 p.m. on Saturday, January 13.
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"And I'm very excited," Schuler notes. He decided to stop working nights four years ago, when his twins were born (making a total of four boys at home). But with labor shortages in the restaurant industry, running Arugula became more and more difficult, so the decision to sell was easy. Couple that with the fact that a second Tangerine is scheduled to open at the end of February at 300 South Public Road in Lafayette, and Schuler says the timing couldn't be better. He says the buyer will not reopen the restaurant as Arugula, but is a current Boulder restaurant operator who was looking for a new location.
The new Tangerine will be a "carbon copy" of the original, according to the owner — newer, of course, but with the same menu, drinks and even some of the management staff from the Boulder location. It takes over a space that was built eighteen years ago as Rocky Mountain Joe's and was most recently Apeizza e Vino.
With very few dedicated breakfast options in old town Lafayette, and with the Tangerine name already well known in Boulder County, Schuler expects the new restaurant to be a hit with neighbors. If all goes according to plan, he also hopes to open at least one more Tangerine in the next year or two — if he can find the right deal in the right place.