The Sola Café Experience

Saturday May. 1st, 2010

Tanda Cook, ND

After spending the past four years in Portland Oregon, coffee capital of America, and then recently moving to Bozeman, I was anxious to find a place to grab a warm cup of Joe. Sola Café, located on the corner of South 3rd and Kagy has become that place and so much more. A recent establishment, opening its doors in 2008, it boasts fine espresso, smoothies, pastries, a wide variety of soups and salads, and fresh market fare that will dance on your palate.

As you walk in the daily specials are written on a chalkboard wall on the right and if the line is long it gives you more time to drool over the case of pastries and read the menu filled with fresh ingredients and creative daily homemade soups. The place is light and warm, and the staff makes sure you are taken care of. You have a choice of seating, either downstairs against the north facing windows, or upstairs for a birds eye view of the establishment.
The menu…ah, the menu…because Sola is open from 6am to 9pm daily they have a wide variety of options. For lunch I could start with a Fiesta Chicken salad with grilled local chicken, sweet corn, sweet red peppers, black beans, roasted Anaheim chilis, romaine and tortillas in cilantro lime vinaigrette, OR the chevre, pesto and roasted seasonal veggie panini. But today I’m going for one of the specials, the roast beef and gorgonzola: a thin-sliced roast beef piled with caramelized onions and creamy gorgonzola sauce on a toasted baguette, served with chips on a colorful plate with a beverage of choice…mine? Pellegrino with lime.

I placed my order and went and found a seat next to one of the windows and peered at the local art on the wall and listened to the chatter around me. This place has a wonderful buzz to it and the staff is very friendly and attentive. There is also a wall of cookbooks that you can thumb through and get great ideas for gluten free, gardening tips, and seasonal eating.

I haven’t had the privilege of eating dinner there but they have a full array of appetizers, pizzas, salads and entrees as well as a kids menu, everything from classic mac n’ cheese to grilled Shields Valley lamb chops with mint gremolata and Israeli cous-cous. Beer and wine is also served.
Above and beyond the great food and the warm bright environment, Sola is a member of the Farm to Restaurant local foods campaign where as much as the seasons and availability permit, they strive to use local, sustainably grown ingredients. Sola coffees are fair trade, sustainably grown and artisan-roasted locally. The milk used is from local dairies and is free of bovine growth hormones and they don’t serve any items with high fructose corn syrup.
Sola Cafe also offers coffee, pastry, luncheon catering for parties and meetings as well as the choice of gluten free alternatives. There is a healthy variety of packaged foods and beverages including organic milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, Kombucha, candies, plus a selection of wine and beer. They have a drive-through window and online and text ordering making it super easy for busy families to get a healthy take-home meal.

There are many reasons to visit Sola Café. Not only is it locally owned and operated, but their participation in Farm to Restaurant and community support makes it that much more enriching. The price of the food is affordable and delicious. It’s a great place to meet up with friends on your lunch break or sit with your significant other after work to enjoy a glass of wine. They also feature local artists and live jazz performed every other Sunday morning. What a great way to end the weekend, some jazz, a great cup of coffee, the Sunday paper and the warmth of Sola Café.