Home Page

Racing burro is namesake for new neighborhood coffee house at Walnut and Bijou

Holding up a specialty coffee, Tony White sits astride his donkey Rosco outside the business named after him at Walnut and Bijou streets.
Courtesy of Tony White
       If you go to Rosco's Coffee House, you might have a long wait if you're hoping Rosco himself will serve you.
       But it's not as if business owners Tony and Jann White invented the name. Rosco just happens to be Tony's donkey… and racing partner.
       More on that in a moment.
       To the main point, Rosco's is a café that opened in late May at the prominent intersection (northeast corner) of Walnut and Bijou streets. Open daily, the business offers a full range of specialty coffees, teas and cold and hot bakery items.
       The location, officially 432 W. Bijou St., takes up the roughly 1,000-square-foot ground floor of an older, two-story commercial building, which sits in the midst of an established near-Westside residential neighborhood.
       People can order to go or to eat in. Seating is available for about 15 diners indoors and 8 more in an outdoors patio on the Walnut side. Offices and available meeting space are upstairs.
       “The neighbors have been super appreciative,” Tony said of the reaction that Rosco's has received since it opened. “They always tell us thank you.”
       Originally from Illinois, Tony came to the region in 1995 to work in sports fitness for the YMCA. In the later '90s, Tony moved into surgical device sales, a field in which he is still employed.
       He had not previously worked in the coffee/culinary realm. The Walnut/Bijou building, which he'd bought in a foreclosure nine years ago and has steadily renovated ever since, initially was an investment and a place for his sales office. But last fall he got the idea of a coffee house on the ground floor instead of storage.
       To make it happen, he had to apply to the city for a parking variance and make various plumbing and electrical upgrades as part of a remodel to allow the new operation.
       Going forward, “I know it's not super profitable,” Tony elaborated. “But it can be good, from the standpoint of a neighborhood business. It's exciting to do something different. I think I got kind of bored.”
       This is not the first time Tony has taken action against boredom. He has a small stable in Manitou Springs, and Rosco became part of that six years ago. He bought the donkey to compete in the little-known Colorado sport of pack-burro racing.
       In such events, the burro (carrying a pack including a pick, gold mine and shovel) runs with a man holding a lead rope along competitive mountain courses up to 30 miles in length. One of the rules by the Western Pack Burro Ass-ociation (the hyphen is part of the official name), states that the burro can never carry the man, but the man can carry the burro.
       Naming the coffee house after Rosco helps with publicity, Tony explained. “If you're going to market it, the best way is to market Rosco.” The business's namesake occasionally makes an appearance. One of these will be the official grand opening Saturday, July 11. There will be extended hours that day and a live musician, Tony said.
       For more information, e-mail roscoscoffee@icloud.com or go to Rosco's Coffee House on Facebook.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 6/21/15; Business: New)

Would you like to respond to this article? The Westside Pioneer welcomes letters at editor@westsidepioneer.com. (Click here for letter-writing criteria.)