Co-owners Yemi Mobolade and Russ Ware deserve kudos if for no other reason than having taken prime, downtown real-estate being used as a Cartridge World and turned it into something somebody might care about — a must-visit for coffee, beer and wine lovers, as it turns out.
After three months and $150,000 in renovations, Wild Goose Meeting House opened late last year as a cohesive experience. It's made so by a Portland-esque, urban-comfortable design inspired by Ware, full of bookshelves and individual hanging lights, and splendidly executed by local company Echo Architecture.
And it's not just window dressing. The feel of the place — with its huge community table, indie pop music, chalkboards and references to The One Who Knocks — is integral to an experience that starts as soon as you walk in and face ... nothing. Or, less than you expect, since Modbar's Espresso Module mostly sits underneath the counter. The beans come from the Springs' SwitchBack Coffee Roasters, and reveal themselves in a bold, beautifully drawn latte ($3.50). A cup of black comes via pour-over, Chemex or the laboratory-looking siphon. (Yeah, science!)
It all fits into the Third Wave Coffee movement that encompasses R&R Coffee Café, Urban Steam Coffee Bar, Colorado Coffee Merchants and others. In fact, the city's becoming so flush with baristas-with-purpose that it's getting hard to bitch about what Denver has that we don't.
Elsewhere, a full slate of taps from Pikes Peak Brewing Co., not to mention pours from Ska, Left Hand, River North and New Belgium, represent the Centennial State well. A small, trendy wine list offers a handful of whites and reds, from chenin blanc to Mourvèdre, with glasses between $5 and $13. There's even a mild, citrus-y house ginger beer ($4), though it runs much sweeter than the spicy powerhouse made by The Principal's Office.
Ware compares the available cooking space in the kitchen to that of a food truck, which helps explain the menu's simplicity, though no real complaints here. Half of the smoky turkey-and-ham Wild Goose Sandwich on crunchy sourdough, and a cup of thick red-pepper-and-Gouda bisque ($9), is a perfect lunch, especially considering the juicy nirvana in that Dijon-spiked panini. The Tijuana Goose ($10) does chipotle mayo with gooseberry relish, pepper jack and whole green chilies so well, one hardly misses meat.
The charcuterie-and-cheese boards are fun, though pricey — $14 to $17 for prosciutto, salami, Asiago, smoked cheddar, horseradish Havarti and Brie — while the geniuses at Continental Sausage in Denver provide the juicy elk, chicken or boar brats ($14 for three). A half-plate of nachos ($6) yields little that's groundbreaking, but the thick, seasoned chips and sour-cream-laced chili queso ($8) are salt-bomb heaven.
Wild Goose won me for good, though, with its description of The DOUBLE Rainbow salad ($12): "WHAT DOES IT MEAN!? It's a large plate with our rainbow veggie salad on one side and a cup of rainbow fruit salad on the other. It's sooo beautiful!" Refreshing, again maybe a little expensive, but full of bright greens and blueberries, strawberries, pears, blackberries and pineapple. The d'Anjou pear and Asiago salad ($11) is a nice, light lunch, too.
So, the suits pack it at lunch, the hipsters at night, and I don't see any reason they shouldn't. Even some migrating geese passed over one afternoon. Flying-V all the way.