- Griffin Swartzell
- Good Neighbors: like the Wild Goose, but with shakes.
But that doesn’t mean our breakfast, lunch and dinner visits were uninformative. Vision is vision and implementation of that vision still says plenty. In the case of Good Neighbors — brought to you by the folks behind Wild Goose Meeting House, and replacing Dogtooth Coffee Co. — it’s a designated third place, meant to build community in the Old North End and Shooks Run neighborhoods. It’s less for formal meals and more for drinks and snacks alongside conversation or work.
“Our average ticket is $12, and that includes people who are ordering together,” co-owner Russ Ware says. From our view, that’s unexpected — many food items land around $10. It lines up with Ware’s assertion that many customers are coming in for only a drink.
Coffee’s brewed mostly from Colorado Springs roasted beans — when we visit, their cappuccino comes from Hold Fast Coffee Co.’s espresso blend. Our cappuccino rates strong, and we’re particularly happy with house-made cinnamon-honey syrup, formulated by Rebecca Moon, who also designed the cocktail menu. The one cocktail we try, the Amendment 18, sadly sees excessive lime burying subtleties from Leopold Bros. Maraschino liqueur and Lee Spirits Alpine liqueur.
But we’re enamored of both a snappy house ginger beer and a fresh, crisp sparkling lemonade, neither of which arrives too sweet. We also dig a seasonal special boozy pumpkin milkshake, creamy and thick without getting overwhelmed by the strong-spiced house pumpkin syrup or the Axe & the Oak Pikes Peak hill shine. The menu also includes non-boozy milkshakes, all $4.50 to $5. Plus, all beers on tap are brewed in town. Generally, Good Neighbors seems like a fine enough place to stop in for a drink.
For now, we recommend that over the lunch menu, which we found largely disappointing. A white cheddar poblano soup evoked queso fundido, proving the one exception. A caprese plate saw a ball of mediocre burrata atop arugula, with some water crackers, balsamic reduction and maybe four cherry tomatoes. For $8, it wasn’t great.
Good Neighbors’ lackluster tacos cost us $5 or $6 each, the biggest sticking point we encountered. We’ve complained about the value proposition for a street taco at upwards of $4.50 elsewhere. Ware says the cost of goods for them is high, but he intends to restructure how they handle the tacos and “[address] the challenging price issue.”
At breakfast, there’s a much better deal — $3 to $3.50 breakfast burritos, modestly sized but very fair. Our egg burrito, $3, gets a few chunks of bell pepper and black beans, but they’re embedded in a solid block of egg, overcooked but generously portioned.
Looking at the prices and the offerings, it’s no surprise that Ware sees “a tremendous amount of overlap” between customers at Good Neighbors and the Wild Goose. Good Neighbors presents another hip, laptop-friendly café space with craft-minded drinks. But to really serve its neighborhood better, we’d like to see more attention and affordability (relative to quality) brought to the limited food menu. A true good neighbor is consistent.