Overflowing plates of hearty brunch food, tart Arnold Palmers in mason jars and silverware wrapped in mismatched cloth napkins crowd the tables shared by college students and older Boulder residents at The Buff. It’s hard not to feel at home in the restaurant that’s become a Boulder staple — and the $1 mimosas and Bloody Marys don’t hurt.
And due to delays with city building permits, Boulder residents will have a few more months at “home” at The Buff before the restaurant completes a relocation it has planned since April. After 18 years serving skillets and Dirty Hippies at 1725 28th St., The Buff owners will uproot their family-oriented business and move to a new home across the street.
Plans to demolish the hotel next door and the current building housing The Buff to make room for a new hotel and retail complex had haunted co-owner Jacquie Meyer and her husband and co-owner Chris since 2006. When the market crashed in 2008, the plans stalled, giving the restaurant a few more years in its original location. This year the plans are finally being put into action, forcing the restaurant to relocate rather than close for renovations.
“I think we knew that it was imminent deep down inside, that something might happen sometime, and I think we were also in just total denial,” Meyer says. “You know, the older you get, the more difficult change can be.”
Because The Buff is a mom-and-pop business in the truest sense, the restaurant could not afford to be closed for an extended period while the demolition and construction occurred. To avoid losing revenue, The Buff will move to a new location across the street, at 2600 Canyon Blvd., a building that once housed The Original Pancake House and The Black-Eyed Pea.
While the move isn’t ideal, Meyer says the restaurant will have the same atmosphere as the original location. To ensure this, the restaurant plans to remodel the inside of the new location, giving it a homier feel.
“We’re going to do everything we possibly can,” Meyer says. “For us, it’s devastating that we’re going to have to be moving in the first place, so the general idea is, ‘Let’s just do this and take it over there.’ We’re going to repurpose; we’re going to recycle; we’re going to reuse everything we can, as beat-up and broken-down as it is.”
Meyer hoped to open the new doors in mid-August, but hold-ups by the city on the building permits have made that goal impossible. Because building permits are required for “any construction that physically changes or adds structures to [a] property,” according to the Boulder County website, The Buff owners had to go through the city for approval before starting construction. This process has slowed recently, delaying the plans for the new restaurant.
“We’re over 60 days behind right now,” Meyer says. “We’ll be 90 days behind, and we have a lot to do, because our goal is to get the same feel in that big huge box over there as to what we have right now.”
The Meyers are paying rent at both locations right now, making every day delayed more costly. Because of revenue concerns, Meyer says she hopes to keep the number of days that The Buff is closed to a minimum.
“We don’t even want to be closed for one day, if that’s at all possible,” Meyer says. “Our goal is to close in the afternoon and then open the new doors at the new place.”
The Buff will operate at its original location until it is possible for the restaurant to move into its new space or the building is closed for demolition.