This next building has worn many different hats. It’s been used for knife sharpening, bail bonds, art space, catering, and finally, a coffee shop. Welcome to Rugged Grounds in downtown Salt Lake City, UT. Driving by the coffee shop you will immediately spot the black awning with COFFEE written across the front of it. It was challenging to find parking for my van so I drove down a few streets, paid for street parking, and grabbed my skateboard. I paid for an hour and skated down to the coffee shop. I opened the stainless door at the front and headed in.
This place was great, reminded me of an old saloon or a place I might see in an older movie. The first room had an antique-looking piano, classic schoolhouse chairs, wooden flooring, and industrial-style siding on the ceiling. One side of the walls were covered in reclaimed wood and the other side appeared to be old mirrors. There are a few books to read on top of the piano, a game of chess to play, and a world atlas to plan your future adventures. I headed into the second room where the action was. A long wooden bar went right up the middle of this room. There were a handful of people here when I first walked in, so I found an empty green stool and took a seat.
I Talk too Loud
The barista politely introduced herself and asked me if she could get me started with anything. This is when I met Sadie, she is part-barista and part-owner. She was pretty excited to hear what I was doing, the next thing I know, I had the attention of the whole place. I was so nervous that I would easily stay past my parking limit telling stories of my travels, so I told the customers at the bar, Josh and Maxwell, to make sure I didn’t lose track of time and we all laughed. They were stopping in here to take a break after work and enjoy a well-crafted cup of coffee. I knew it could be very possible to lose track of time, I really enjoy talking and meeting the shops and everyone in them.
I told Sadie that I would like to order their espresso and she began concocting one for me. She told me that this was the second location and the other is located in Provo, UT. Rugged Grounds opened in 2017 with a build-goal to use nothing but reclaimed materials. I replied, “Woah that’s awesome!” To name a few examples, Sadie pointed out the wood wall in the other rooms, stools we were sitting on, and the chairs in the other room were all reclaimed. They went with the whole “Hope it fits” method, I love that.
My cute little antique glass of fresh espresso, just what I needed. Sadie was happy to hear how much I enjoyed the drink. I asked her what the most popular drink was right now and she told me “The Boxcar.” This drink was an Americano with cinnamon, honey, and cream. They serve fair-trade, organic coffee roasted in Utah Valley by Great Basin Coffee Company in Provo, UT. For all of the tea drinkers out there, they use Grey Mountain Herbs and the kombucha is brewed right here in Salt Lake City by Rock Canyon Elixers.
Sometimes I visit coffee shops and the behavior of the customers is usually very cordial, but I like catching moments that stand out. As I was sitting at the bar snapping pictures of the shop, this gentleman came in and ordered a small latte to go. When it was time to pay he handed Sadie a $10 bill, smiled, and told her to keep the change. This was a very nice gesture considering he only popped in for a second to get the coffee and go on his way. I know this is small, but it’s the love like this that these small coffee shops deserve.
Hmmm… this one was different. Very bare-bones, toilet, and white walls. I did enjoy the braided plant hanger that was now innovatively holding two rolls of toilet paper. For that, I would rank this bathroom a 6/10. Tons of potential and practically a blank canvas, it would be really cool if they found some antique coffee photographs to match the aesthetic.