A crafty sign with blue block letters hangs above the blue-rimmed entrance of Cucuru Gallery Café in Old Colorado City. Sounds of live jazz music drifted down the street as we approached the location, filling Sunday night with a calm and familial energy. The quaint entrance to Cucuru brings you into what feels like the first floor of an old house, broken up into a series of rooms connected by small entrances and open windows.
With small, round tables, hanging ornaments, images of Latin culture, and yellow walls, the café has a warm atmosphere. The main space was empty and looked as if it could be closed, but we were soon greeted by the owner, a man of incredible energy and genuine hospitality. He immediately led us past the kitchen and bar, out a small entrance in the back, and into a quaint outside patio area, complete with hanging lights and potted plants. A three-man jazz band filled one corner of the space. There was no choice but to sit close to the sound, and the experience of listening to the music became a shared one between customers, staff, and the musicians themselves. We had arrived just in time for their last summer Sunday jazz event.
The organization of the tables and chairs in the outside space facilitated the music listening; instead of facing the table, my chair faced the music at the front. The owner sat at a table next to us, enjoying the music himself while regularly checking to make sure we had been helped. The waitress seemed to have mastered the balance between giving her customers space, while arriving at the table exactly when you needed something.
The menu at Cucuru has a variety of delicious Cuban food and other Latin-inspired cuisine, such as their classic Cuban sandwich, gambas diablo, taquitos, and patatas bravas. The menu offers a beautiful balance between fresh salads and heavier, meaty food. The gambas aquacate, a salad with chopped cucumber, poblano pepper, red onion, tomato, and cilantro, is served pouring out of an empty avocado skin, with fresh grilled shrimp on top, and sliced avocado by the side.
After we picked our order, the waitress told us, “Good choice!” Each time she passed us with dishes that she was delivering to other customers, she would lower the dish to our eyelevel so we could admire the gorgeous presentation, and the delicious aromas that floated from the plate. “It was such a nice surprise, with a really vibrant atmosphere and lovely fresh food,” said Emily Klockenbrink ’19.
Cucuru is a family-owned business that opened about 12 years ago. Its many years of operation are evident in the casual and welcoming dining experience. The smooth flow of service gives the feeling that the restaurant functions on its own with ease. Although the summer Sunday jazz has ended, Cucuru offers live music inside the restaurant space every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening, showcasing talented and eclectic musicians from all around Colorado.
Whether seeking a glass of wine, live music, or a fresh and flavorful meal, this precious space on the corner of Colorado and 24th St. is endlessly welcoming, and perfectly casual.