29 E 400 S Salt Lake City, UT Get Directions
WWW.RUGGEDGROUNDS.COM IG @ruggedgroundsslc
Date Visited: October 30, 2019
This next spot used to be for knife sharpening, bail bonds, art space, then 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 wonder van so I turned down a few more streets, paid for street parking, and grabbed my skateboard. Only having paid for an hour, I rolled down to the shop weaving through town. Arrived at the stainless door at the front and headed in.
This place was sweet, reminded me of an old saloon. The first room had an antique-looking piano, classic schoolhouse chairs, wooden flooring, and metal industrial-style siding on the ceiling. One side of the wall was covered in reclaimed wood, as the other side appeared to be old-fashioned 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 divided the entire 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 was, in fact, barista and part-owner. She was pretty excited to hear what I was doing, the next thing I knew, 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. I told customers at the bar, Josh and Maxwell, to make sure I didn't lose track of time and we all laughed. I knew it would be very possible because I was having a great time. They were stopping in here to take a break after work and enjoy a well-crafted cup of coffee.
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, Sadie pointed out the wood wall in the other rooms, stools we were sitting on, and the chairs 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 espresso. 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 taking in the whole 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 love like this that these personal coffee shops need.
Hmmm... this one was different lol. 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 to find some antique coffee paintings to match the aesthetic.