What kid doesn’t want a fresh, warm cookie after a long day at school? Under the Umbrella Cafe and Bakery will soon be serving up treats along with a breakfast and coffee menu at its second location, in the heart of the Baker neighborhood, beginning in mid-October.
The building at 300 Elati Street that most recently housed Waffle Up sat vacant for only a couple of months before Under the Umbrella moved in, after Waffle Up owner Tom McCarty decided to sell the brick-and-mortar location to focus on his food truck. McCarty is a regular at the original Under the Umbrella, 3504 East 12th Avenue in Congress Park, and approached owner Jyll Tuggle to see if she was interested in taking over the Baker address. Tuggle has owned and operated UTU Congress Park for over a decade. “It’s really hard to say no to this space,” she says of the corner spot. “And it gives me a change of scenery after being [in Congress Park] for twelve years.” Never an absent owner, Tuggle will shift gears to focus on the new location, and her girlfriend will step into the manager role in Congress Park.
Many things will be the same as at the original location: the same name (no “two”), the same hours (7 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and the same Pablo's coffee, Sterling tea and Bhakti chai. Customers can also expect Tuggle's housemade pastries. Even the neighborhood vibes feel the same to Tuggle. “It’s similar to Congress Park because there’s an elementary school over there, we’re right off of two main streets, and we’re near a hospital,” she says as she watches through the window while a crossing guard helps kids cross the normally quiet intersection of Elati Street and West Third Avenue.
Tuggle says she's learned a few things in the last twelve years — namely, what UTU does well, and what it struggles with. “At the beginning, I just wanted to please everybody,” she recalls. “The next thing you know, our menu’s huge.” Instead of trying to replicate the entire menu, which spans breakfast pastries and sandwiches all the way through lunch sandwiches and salads, the new location will start with a more limited menu of coffee and breakfast all day, eventually bringing over the most popular items from the menu in Congress Park.
Tuggle wants to appeal to and please all of her neighbors, including the pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade students at Denver School for International Studies across the street. “I’m going to bake cookies at three o’clock every day,” she says. “Chocolate chip, of course.”
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Besides baking, meeting people is Tuggle's favorite aspect of owning a coffee shop. “I’ve lived in Denver for twenty years, but I feel like this past decade has really upped my game as far as knowing the people in the area. If I ever need anything, I have a list of people to call,” she says. That sense of community got her this second coffee shop, and is one of the reasons past employees are coming back to help in the new spot.
UTU Baker is a blank slate for Tuggle, who started in Congress Park with just a couple of paintings of umbrellas as decoration. The collection grew as loving customers quickly added more paintings and tchotchkes. The exposed brick wall at the Baker location, however, will remain bare for now but for a coat of white paint; Tuggle says she won't be quick to fill it. “The other place is way too cluttered,” she notes. Decor will come with time and will be influenced by the neighbors and the neighborhood.
Under the Umbrella will officially open for business on October 20 and will "casually" open until then with baked goods and coffee.