Hospitality & Tourism  April 12, 2022

Boulder’s Walnut Cafe passes to new owners

BOULDER — It’s as close to an institution as anything gets in Boulder and has been under the same ownership since the 1980s, but as of this month, the Walnut Cafe has new owners.

Cafe employees Ashley Parzych and Ariel Cooke have purchased the restaurant from long-time owner Dana Derichweiler. While the deal — first reported by Boulder Beat — closed April 1, Derichweiler took her final bows this past weekend with a double day of observances with cafe customers.

Walnut Cafe, with original location at 3073 Walnut and southside location at 673 S. Broadway, will rest easy with the new owners, who plan no major changes anytime soon.

“It’s so, so exciting. So, so wonderful,” said Parzych, who admitted that the first few days for the new owners had been “crazy.” Not that the work is unfamiliar. Both have been with the cafe as managers for years — 20 years between them.

Cooke, who came to Boulder in 2002 and attended Naropa University, has a restaurant background. Parzych moved to Boulder in 2016; she was a correctional officer in Massachusetts before coming to the community.

The restaurant is characterized by owners, employees and customers as “a safe space” for people regardless of culture, sexuality, religion, or politics. That will stay the same, the new owners said. 

“The most important part is that this remain a safe space,” Parzych said. “That starts with me and Ariel,” she said of how the partners plan to continue the safe space legacy started by Derichweiler. They recently conducted a short training session for managers on the topic.

“Lots of times, we as humans fall short. We fail to understand. We ‘other’ those we don’t understand,” she said. 

The menu for the restaurant also will stay the same. It is known for its breakfast fare, especially pancakes, and its pies baked for the past 20 years by staff member Ray Martinez. Martinez bakes pies for both restaurant locations, and he bakes pies on request for customers who would like to buy a pie for family or friends.

Parzych said that “down the road,” the partners would like to put their own mark on the operation but for now they’re content to continue the legacy of the institution.

“We might add evening events and create an evening gathering space,” she said. The restaurant operates until 2 p.m. weekdays and 3 p.m. on weekends. “Maybe we’ll do a bingo night,” she said.

“We have a great relationship with the landlord. We have a great connection with the community around our locations,” Parzych said, and whatever they do they want to maintain that.

BOULDER — It’s as close to an institution as anything gets in Boulder and has been under the same ownership since the 1980s, but as of this month, the Walnut Cafe has new owners.

Cafe employees Ashley Parzych and Ariel Cooke have purchased the restaurant from long-time owner Dana Derichweiler. While the deal — first reported by Boulder Beat — closed April 1, Derichweiler took her final bows this past weekend with a double day of observances with cafe customers.

Walnut Cafe, with original location at 3073 Walnut and southside location at 673 S. Broadway, will rest easy with the new…

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