Boulder Coffee Co.

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InfoInfo TalkTalk MapMap
Locations Phone
100 Alexander Street, Rochester NY, 14620 [Directions] 585 454 7140
1 Public Market, Rochester NY [Directions] 585 232 5282
Alexander Street
Monday - Thursday: 7:00AM to 11:00PM
Friday: 7:00AM to Midnight
Saturday: 8:00AM to Midnight
Sunday: 8:00AM to 11:00PM
Public Market
Thursday (5/1 to 9/1): 7:00AM to 1:00PM
Saturday: 6:00AM to 2:00PM
Sunday (5/1 to 9/1): 7:00AM to 1:00PM
Alexander Street - Yes
Public Market - No
Wheelchair Accessible
Both locations

Boulder Coffee Co. debuted in July 2005 to answer a need for coffee and community in the South Wedge. Today, they have two locations, although there used to be more (see below). One is at the Public Market and the other on Alexander Street in the Wedge. Both serve coffee roasted at the market location. Their Boulder Blend, the house dark roast served daily, is certified Fair Trade, as are several of their single origin variety blends.

Baked goods include cookies, panini sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches, and sweets.

Boulder's owner, Lyjha Wilton, also owns dozens of other apartments and houses in the Wedge.


For a long time Lyjha Wilton had had a vision for the abandoned brick building on the corner of South Clinton and Alexander. As recently as the early 2000s, this part of the Wedge was still troubled. The building Wilton admired was surrounded by crack houses. Still, heavy traffic at the intersection made it an ideal location for a coffeehouse, so Wilton took the plunge, despite having no prior experience or education in retail management. He bought the crack houses as well, turning some into respectable apartments and one into a wood-fired pizzeria, today leased to Napa.1

Boulder Coffee Company was finally opened in July 2005. Just a year later a pickup truck crashed through the front window and façade, knocking out a front corner of the building. Boulder was subsequently closed for two and a half weeks. They reopened on August 14, 2006 with a new counter, layout, and a temporary bulkhead, although the building still needed repairs. Unable to find matching bricks, Lyjha replaced the broken bricks with interior bricks, and then hid the interior bricks with new bricks.

In January 2007 the scaffolding came down from the repairs to reveal a new stage and all-glass façade.

On March 16 2008, Boulder was hit by an SUV. This marks the fourth time that a motor vehicle has crashed into that building.

On July 16, 2008, Boulder was hit for the fifth time by a vehicle trying to swerve out of the way of a car running a red light. No structural damage has occurred with the exception of a few exterior bricks.


Alexander Street

The original and flagship location. Situated on the corner of Alexander and South Clinton, the loft-like space includes a stage with a piano and amplifier setup that regularly hosts small shows, open mic nights, and other free events. The decor consists of a rotating selection of local artwork and a lot of second-hand vintage, with a touch of Mid-Century Modern. There are couches and comfy chairs, an ATM, and free Wi-Fi (ask a barista for the password). In warmer weather customers can enjoy a large outdoor patio area with tables and chairs and a fire pit.

This location has its own parking lot, which used to host the South Wedge Farmers' Market. BoulderFest was held here every Summer from 2006 to 2013.

The regular schedule for live shows is as follows:

Everything starts at 8:00PM. The latest list can be found on their [WWW]Facebook page.

Public Market

All coffee served at the other locations is roasted here. Open only during Public Market hours. This location was bought from Java Joe's.

Former Locations

Brooks Landing

In the 19th Ward, adjacent to the University of Rochester pedestrian bridge and bordering PLEX. Boulder came to Brooks Landing in 2009 as part of UR's Brooks Landing Project and initially moved to a renovated building at 955 Genesee Street. Finding the two-story space too large, they shifted across the street to the new strip mall. The parking lot was shared with several other businesses.

955 Genesee now houses the [WWW]Chabad House of Rochester. Photos of the 955 location may be seen [WWW]here.

This location was sold in January 2015 to City Councilmember Dana Miller and is now Brue Coffee.


Known as "Java Joe's by Boulder Coffee Co.," this location was a kiosk on the ground floor of the Crossroads Building in the Four Corners neighborhood. It was sold to Boulder by the now-defunct Spin Caffe. Like most restaurants downtown, it catered primarily to the working crowd and was thus open only on weekdays during work hours. It closed in 2013 and became Crossroads Cafe.

Park Avenue

This location at 739 Park Avenue was purchased from Spin Caffe in 2011. Outdoor seating was available on the sidewalk. Did not have a stage but did host live music. Sold to a pair of longtime Boulder employees in 2015 and became Cafe Sasso, which still serves Boulder coffee.

Photo Album

BoulderOut.jpgAlexander Street location. JohnSachelli20070309.jpgJohn Sachelli on stage at Alexander St. (cc)2007 John Lam PublicMarket.JPGPublic Market (Nov. 2012)
bldr1.jpgPark Ave interior, 7-2011 (defunct) BrooksLanding.JPGDefunct Brooks Landing location (Nov. 2012) StateStreet.JPGDefunct downtown location. (Nov. 2012)

Comments & Discussion

Please see the Boulder Coffee Co./Comments page to see older, archived comments. Discussions about the RocWiki page itself go in Boulder Coffee Co./Talk.


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2011-04-16 17:59:08   I enjoy the backdoor patio at the southwedge location The staff is generally nice, but the service can be very slow and the drink quality inconsistent. If you just need a place to study, I'd recommend it, but the internet is spotty and usually way to slow for me to even do a general search. I like it, but not that much. The location near the UofR they could not answer any of my questions and the service was quite slow - it seems like a different coffee shop altogether. —janefitzgerald3

2011-08-08 13:57:55   I love what they've done with the new Park Ave location. It has that great funky vibe the old Spin Caffe lacked. —EileenF

2011-11-21 15:10:23   This review is for the new location on Park Ave, and was originally posted on Yelp"

I'm really just a bit disappointed by this place. The old Spinn place at the same location at least had a 'modern' look to it, it's just that the place had become filthy, and nobody there even seemed to try anymore. Now, Boulder has come in, and remodled the place. This may be the ONLY place I know of where a window was added, yet the place is actually darker than it was before!

First off-if you like cold, dark stone, you'll love this place. The dull, dark stone cladding on the walls seems to suck not only the light, but also the life out of this space. I really can't imagine how anybody thought this would look good-it doesn't! Add to that the haphazard stage lights added on the ceiling, and the odd re-use of bit of the old decor that really don't match, and you get a place that's guarateed to win no prizes for decor. And the ugly 'art pieces', well, they'd all look better at the bottom of a dumpster.

Secondly-the staff. It looks like they hired most of the alt-rock freaks form the Spot, when they closed down for remodling. Most of these guys mean well, but they just can't seem to get their @$$es in gear and get service done in anything resembling a timely manner.

Thirdly-the LOUD music playing: I thought that coffee shops were supposed to have soft music playing, rather than playing it through tinny ceiling speakers at eardrum-harming volume. The day I was there, they were playing some 'thrid world' jam by some group featuring a solo on a....thumb piano. Can you imagine the agony of having to listen to THAT for 5 full minutes? Judging by the number of people who got up and left during this annoying music choice, I doubt anybody did!

OK, the coffee is generally good. I tried a wrap once, and felt that Colies made a better wrap for about 50 cents less.

2011-12-05 19:46:10   Had dinner tonight at the Genesee St location and it was disappointing. Got the tuna melt and it was very low quality. Tuna had many bones in it I had to pick out. Cheese was not melted and tuna was squishing out sides before I even tried to eat it. It was not well put together. I would not get it again. —goldengirl217

2012-05-08 13:34:35   Just a note on the Park Ave. location: Since the side door is locked in the mornings (barista tells me that they always lock it until afternoon), this location is NOT handicapped-accessible in the morning. —Alex-C

2012-05-13 18:21:00   I've talked to friends of mine who have worked as baristas at various Boulder locations and they've all told me that the company treats its employees extremely poorly. One friend was belittled about their weight problems by one of their superiors. One got fired with no reason given, and replaced by an old friend of someone in management. I once saw a barista get shouted at by a higherup in front of customers. Schedules for baristas are not consistent; they get their schedules for a given week a few days before that week takes effect and the schedules tend to vary fairly dramatically. This has the effect of making it hard for baristas to have other major commitments besides the job, and makes it very difficult for them to look for second part-time jobs or for other work. Additionally, I heard that baristas get their hours cut or changed severely without warning as punishment. All of this has left a pretty sour taste in my mouth, and I tend to avoid going to their stores now. —JakeSanders

2012-05-19 13:00:15   My name is Peter and I am the Store Manager at the Park Avenue location of Boulder Coffee Co.

I would like to clarify a few things after reading some recent reviews here on Roc wiki. I would not normally get involved, as I believe that anyone should have the right to freely critique as they see fit, and that constructive criticism can be quite useful. However, some of the things stated here are simply erroneous and could not, in good conscience, stand uncorrected.

First of all, the schedule for all 5 of the Boulder locations are posted in all the stores, on the same day (Wednesday, of the week preceding the schedule) and you are welcome to ask anyone that works there, because this is absolute FACT. There are 30+ employees at Boulder Coffee Company, and to think that the schedule is planned around punishing specific employees for this or that is self-indulgent and patently false.

Secondly, anyone who is no longer employed by Boulder is as a result of their inability to perform the job and they were informed of these reasons explicitly. Our management team works in uniform compliance with ethical labor practices. It's important to remember that anyone fired from a job will likely feel a little raw about it, and that's hardly a fair and unbiased source for information on how the company is operated. I'd also like to point out that we have NUMEROUS employees who have been with the company for several years and whether old or new, the majority love their jobs. Go ask them.

Lastly, the side entrance of the Park Avenue location has an auto-locking door with a sign on it BEGGING customers not to slam it shut, as this results in locking people out. The barista's cannot spend every moment of every day making sure customers have followed the very polite request of not slamming the door shut. For the record, it's an auto-locking door, and we DO check it as often as possible. Our store is most certainly handicapped accessible. If you'd like to discuss any of the topics I've broached here you are more than welcome to e-mail me or pop in the store and say hello.

Cheers! :) —Peter

2012-05-21 09:33:18   Peter: Last month, i happened by your Park Ave. store in the morning, after doing business at another local business. As it was POURING rain at the time, and since I was (oddly) approaching your business from the rear, I thought that I should enter through the side door, and save myself from getting completely soaked. I tried the door, and it was bolted shut. As I gave up, the UPS man arrived, and tried the same door as well.

I went around to the front (as did the UPS guy), and he asked the barista on duty about the door. "We always keep it locked in the morning" was his answer.Sounds pretty much like he meant that it was kept BOLTED shut. So, I can assume that was the way HE usually operated, and I can assume that he didn't care about restricting access to those with mobility impairments.

I hope you've changed this. I have a friend in a chair who will be checking your place out some morning in the near future...... —Alex-C

2012-05-21 21:49:39   Just to update my previous post: I stopped by your Park Ave. location today just to check out your "auto-locking door" setup. It is a simple self-latching doorlatch, the type where you can go out but not back in. In order to keep it unlatched, your people place a rag in the door jamb, and a 2"x3" note scribbled on paper. Seriously. The entire handicapped-accessibility of this location is revolving around whether or not the dish towel in the jamb at the floor is still propping the door slightly open and whether somebody actually reads this curling and faded note! Also, there is NO outside opening button or latch. If you are in a wheelchair, you have to stop it on an incline, bend 3' forward, push the door open with a stick, and hold it open as you navigate through the door by turning 90° to the right. It doesn't even latch in the opened position! Even a person on crutches would have trouble doing this, having to body-check the door while navigating around a bend and over the threshold.

This is in no way 'wheelchair accessible'. It is at best, MARGINALLY handicapped accessible, and is really only accessible by wheelchair with outside assitance. And, of course, if your $1 dish rag is missing, anybody who is handicapped is S.O.L.! I would suggest that this location be declared "marginally handicapped accessible". In reality, it is 'barely handicapped accessible'. Pretending otherwise is insulting to those who are physically challenged. Stop blowing smoke at us. If you can't see the value in making your location accessible, at least be honest about it NOT being accessible. —Alex-C

2012-05-29 13:12:23   Peter-you once again changed the accessibility of your Park Ave. location to an untrue "yes", when it's not. —Alex-C

2012-12-02 12:12:21   Boulder. I am a loyal customer, been coming for years, but at this point, having grown like you have, you really need to hire one more person for each shift. Today was the third time in a week i walked out because the line was too long. It was park ave today. Last week i was in the alexander st location at about 4pm. There was one person working, the pkllce was packed and after waiting on the line for 10 minutes and watching 2 other customers walk out, i left when the group of 3 in front of me each ordered espresso drinks. These drinks take time to make. All i want usually is one simple cup of regular coffee. —abnormalcy

2012-12-02 12:56:56   Abnormalcy, I agree 100%. I love Boulder, but there have been times when I've gone there to order food, and in the end decided not to because the poor single person behind the counter looked so overworked. —EileenF

2013-02-16 23:42:19   Went to the South Wedge location a few weeks ago. Most hipster coffee place in Rochester from the dozen I've visited so far, after Joe Bean. But in a good way - great music, good people-watching, interesting art on the walls. A place you want to linger. Had a good capuccino and a quality sandwich. Any place that has a good atmosphere, capuccinos, and food is a winner in my book. —LH

2013-04-14 21:00:00   I appreciate the live music from SoundRabbit (Edit: "SpontAneity?" Really, autocorrect?) tonight but dear lord: this coffee is the nastiest, most stale dregs I ever had. Generous cream and sugar are necessary to make it remotely palatable. At least it's better than the cup I brought back which tasted like bell peppers. In retrospect, I should have more carefully inspected the mug which had soup stuck on it. (Edit: at Park Ave. location.)JasonOlshefsky

2013-11-26 11:07:03   Alexander St location: First time here in about 4 years. Love the changes that have happened in that time, I enjoy the layout, the art on the walls, and the overall feel of the place. Baristas were super-friendly, drink was good (Chai latte), and the food was tasty (N. Winton Cordon Bleu wrap). My only complaint is that the wireless is abysmally slow. Like can't even check my email slow. Since I frequent coffee shops primarily to work, this is a pretty big negative for me. That aside, if I'm looking for somewhere to meet with a friend, or have work to do that doesn't require the internet, I might try again. —LauraShum