Bouquets of bright pink and yellow flowers rest in small glass vases in the center of each table at Urban Steam. The restaurant looks like an old garage turned retro, with light green walls and two separate counters at either end of the space. An open kitchen is labeled “Chaos.” The coffee station is labeled “Order.”
The restaurant maintains a happy balance between a bar and a cafe, allowing customers to choose their desired dining experience upon arrival. The space has food and drink options for all hours of the day, from boozy brunch and lunch to a generous happy hour menu, to late-night bites. Urban Steam has a way of filling each menu item, at every hour of the day, with a different kind of creativity.
“I worked at Urban Steam for about a year,” Ellie Clayton ’20 said. “The vibe is friendly and welcoming both during the day, when it’s a wonderful coffee shop, and at night, when it’s a full bar.”
Out of all the brunch places where I have dined in and around Colorado Springs, Urban Steam has the greatest balance. They prepare both sweet and savory dishes, served in portions of the perfect size; the simple and somewhat succinct menu hits every breakfast craving. Urban Steam, like Good Neighbors, has curated an extensive selection of waffles, including the “Sierra Madre Azul,” topped with black beans, slow cooked carnitas pork, Pepper Jack cheese, two eggs, and salsa, and the “Southern Comfort,” topped with buttermilk fried chicken, bourbon maple syrup, and two eggs. Of course, other waffles fit the more classic, chocolatey-sweet category.
The “Egg Things” section of the menu presents a similar variety, offering dishes such as the “Classic: Eggs Your Way,” a simple egg breakfast with toast, your choice of meat, and jam; avocado toast; and “Sunrise Burrito.” Although big plates of sourdough toast and eggs can feel heavy on the stomach in the morning, “The Urban Tourist,” a dish piled with spinach, two pieces of toasted sourdough, eggs, bacon, avocado, and cheddar cheese, was only slightly filling, and perfectly energizing. Urban Steam also serves a variety of sandwiches, wraps, burgers, and salads for those who are more inclined towards a lunch bite than breakfast.
The service at Urban Steam is wonderfully casual; the waitstaff feel like fellow students or colleagues, chatting with their co-workers and customers. The restaurant space is small, and a morning meal feels like a heartwarming social event, despite knowing only the company across the table from you.
Urban Steam is only a short drive from campus, but coming upon the cafe on a backroad in a residential part of the city feels like stumbling upon something exciting — like finding a quirky secret and venturing from the familiarities of downtown.
“The food and drinks are incredible — fresh, creative, and delicious — and there are options for many dietary restrictions,” Clayton said. “It also has super fun events. Urban Steam is definitely my favorite spot in town.”
It would be a disservice to ignore the quality coffee at Urban Steam, as this is where they take the most pride. Their coffee is sourced from small farms all around the world, made in various traditional and non-traditional ways, including the “Cubano Hidalgo,” a coffee drink made with cayenne pepper, cream, turmeric, and ginger, and a “Real Irish Coffee,” topped with fresh grated chocolate.
Urban Steam feels comfortable; it’s close by; and most food options are around $10 or less. It’s a reason to treat yourself in a location that feels special, tucked away from the downtown scene.