RE. “Wooglin’s Deli: Dependable Mediocrity” By Meredith Allen (Life Section, 1/29/16).
In the most recent issue of The Catalyst, Meredith Allen ripped apart Wooglin’s Deli, giving it a rating of 2.5 out of 5 and a generally scathing review. In the comments section of the article on the Catalyst’s website, this review incited a slew of Wooglin’s most loyal patrons to express their devotion to Wooglin’s and their vitriol for Meredith.
I love Wooglin’s. If I had more money to spend, I’d go there every day and gobble down as many quiches and white chocolate cherry muffins as my stomach and wallet could handle. And for the record, I think Wooglin’s bacon thickness is just fine. But the food is not what makes Wooglins’ great.
Most of the food is what you would expect from a local deli: good, not great. The menu, like all menus, has its well-regarded ups (quiche) and generally ignored downs (bagels). But, as Andres Romero (a former Wooglin’s employee) commented on Meredith’s article, CC students must “realize this ain’t NYC.”
What makes Wooglin’s great is the role it has proudly assumed in the Colorado Springs community. Walk into Wooglin’s on any Friday afternoon and you will find CC students and Springs locals lost in an ancient Chinese board game. At this moment, a CC student is talking philosophy with a professor who is sitting a table over. A young woman at the bar has become caught up in conversation with a friendly waitress. This is what makes Wooglin’s great—its universality. Wooglin’s, more than any other place, is where meat-loving, libertarian Springs residents and vegetarian, styrofoam-loathing Bernie supporters from CC come to interact. The Wild Goose, which Meredith might enjoy more than Wooglin’s, has plenty of beanie-wearing servers and a menu dotted with french words, but only Wooglin’s has an appeal as wide as the Springs itself.
To find proof of Wooglin’s role in the Springs community, you need only look to its walls. Local art always provides a mirror of the community in which it is made. That rule holds true in Wooglin’s. There’s a painting (named “Know What I’m Sayin Is?”) on one wall by Lupita Carrasco that depicts a crowd of local protesters on Bijou Street. The crowd, painted in careful, vibrant brush strokes, stands against one of those beautiful Colorado skies. On a closer look, the crowd looks as varied as the customers of Wooglin’s. In fact, some of those painted protesters look like CC students.
Though Meredith might be right about some of the food at Wooglin’s, and though she is entitled to her opinion, Meredith’s review reifies the Springs’ worst picture of CC: a bunch of snobby rich kids who don’t appreciate what they have. But that’s not the picture on the walls of Wooglin’s, and it’s not the true picture either. I hope the Wooglin’s staff and the Springs community can still believe that.
Letter by Ethan Cutler, Colorado College First-Year