According to the owners of Colfax’s newest cafe, motorcycle culture conjures an image of “bars filled with bearded men, draped in leather, adorned by a female half their age, low-quality beer in hand.” But as of this fall, they’re trying to change that age-old stereotype with their new shop.
“The motorcycle culture has for too long been embodied by dingy biker bars, bikini washes and quite frankly, sexism,” said owner Naomi De La Torre. “We wanted to create a place for this community — biker or not — to come and enjoy a great cup of coffee, a glass of wine, a beer or a sandwich with local camaraderie.”
The Triple Tree Cafe — previously known as Caffe Sanora, opened this September as the brainchild of two women who love motorcycles. When previous owner Dave Kilroy decided to sell, De La Torre jumped on the opportunity to make her vision of expanding the motorcycle community a reality.
“I saw a post on Facebook one day looking for investors to bring what is now Triple Tree to life,” said owner Paula Horwitz. “My husband and I saw it, chatted, and set a meeting with Naomi where the conversation went from not just wanting to be an investor but to be an actual partner.”
Growing up, both De La Torre and Horowitz expressed a deep love for motorcycles. From selling bikes, to building bikes and dedicating weeks on end to riding the open road — the girls aimed to use that same passion in managing and running Triple Tree.
“Everyone was confused as to why I would walk away from a career in nursing to be a small business owner,” said De La Torre. “But I’ve known my entire life, even during nursing school, that I wanted to be involved in the motorcycle industry in a unique way.
De La Torre and Horowitz bonded over a mutual love for the open road, and a mutual love for creating a community that allowed them to flex their passion.
“Iron and Glory Moto Cafe was our original name,” said Horowitz. “We changed it to Triple Tree for a couple of reasons… First, copyright infringement,” laughed Horwitz. “Two, Iron and Glory had an intimidation factor to it — like if you’re a middle-aged, yoga pants wearing, small dog-owning woman you probably wouldn’t be stopping into Iron and Glory for a cup of coffee.”
On a motorcycle, the “triple tree” is the piece that connects the front of the bike to the body — essentially keeping the entire machine intact. After some intense research and contemplation, Horwitz and De La Torre settle on Triple Tree Cafe for that exact reason — a cafe to connect the community, as the triple tree connects a bike.
“The thing about motorcycles is that they allow you to seek out adventure,” said De La Torre. “We wanted to infuse that into our cafe culture by creating a warm environment for anyone in the community to come, relax, plan their next adventure, write, or simply read a good book.”
Triple Tree Cafe has seen great success since its September opening — from Two-Dollar Tuesdays where guests can indulge in two dollar beers or two dollars off an array of other boozy drinks, to Wine Wednesdays and Moto-Movie Mondays, the cafe has been able to bring new energy to Colfax and give the community another reason to get together.
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“When you’re your bike on the open road everything just melts away,” said De La Torre. “It’s like moving meditation, which is how we wanted the energy of this cafe to feel.”
Apart from coffee concoctions, wine, beer and bottomless mimosas, Triple Tree has a full menu ranging from fresh salads to adult PB & J’s and even fresh-baked pastries prepared in-house daily.
“When we opened up the cafe our original idea for the food menu was an international theme,” said Horwitz. “But cafes are like children, they developed their own sense of personality and often the neighborhood surrounding it determines the course of the menu. The original menu wasn’t selling so we started asking around, and realized that locals really dig simple dishes with a flare.”
When the ladies purchased Cafe Sonora, they decided to keep the original chef, a woman who not only knows the community’s preferences — she knows how to elevate them with ease.
“The menu will adapt and change, but there are a few core values that we will always keep intact,” said Horwitz. “Local, organic, nothing fried and always baked from scratch.”
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Along with seeking out local and organic products that give back to Colorado’s community — Triple Tree sources its wine from a local provider and aims to add local craft beer to its inventory.
Denver is no stranger to new cafes. With so many popping up across the metro it can be difficult to differentiate or pinpoint specific qualities that set one apart from another. The Triple Tree is excelling in this aspect by offering the community an opportunity to go international.
“We want to have an element of our cafe that not only set us apart, but that would continue to support our mission and vision — community and wanderlust,” said Horwitz. “We didn’t quite know how that would come into fruition until Naomi’s mother in law opened up an opportunity for us to connect with a tour guide in Vietnam.”
In 177 days, May 11 to May 25 of 2018, the ladies will lead a team of 15 on a 15-day excursion across the Vietnamese countryside via dual-sport motorcycles, staying with host families along the way. This adventure is open to the Denver community, and with 10 spots left anyone looking for adventure is invited.
“The $3,500 fee includes everything outside of your visa and flight,” said Horwitz. “I’m talking all food, the tour guide, all lodging, all travel once in Vietnam and all activities and adventures.”
The trek will take participants from the Bamboo forests of Vietnam, into the mountains, down backroads, past rice fields and across the original Ho Chi Min trail.
Triple Tree is revving up the cafe game from Colfax to Vietnam. Whether you’re a student looking for a welcoming environment to study and sip coffee, a motorcycle enthusiast looking for like-minded souls to share the passion with or simply seeking out a place for community and discounted drinks — this newest addition to our community is certainly worth a visit.
Triple Tree is open Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. To glance at their full drink and food menu or check out more information on their adventure across Vietnam, visit the team’s webpage page here.
All photography by Kyle Cooper, unless otherwise noted.