The grassy knolls and playful red swings of Café Red Point are quickly becoming iconic in the Lincoln Center. Curiosity might be drawing people in the doors, but it’s the flavorful, healthy, and affordable smoothies that keep bringing them back. Today we chat with owner, Dan Fuhr, about the new establishment.
MyCo: Where did the idea for Café Red Point come from?
DF: I’ve had this idea since the early 2000’s. I have a friend who is diabetic. We went to a smoothie shop and he tested his blood sugar after drinking a smoothie. It was considerably higher than after a night of drinking. I remember thinking, “There is something wrong with this.” There are so many foods that people think are healthy, but a lot are just garbage, laden with sugar.
I see the two biggest problems America is facing as: the health crisis due to poor diet and lifestyle choices, and the wealth gap. The café is an experiment for me to see if I can do something to positively affect both.
I, myself, eat the overwhelming majority of my calories at Red Point. I recently had blood work done as part of my annual check up. Despite the fats, my lipid profile improved since my last test. The last test was when I went through a phase of low fat, low protein. What we serve works for me (I’m 41) and I - I did take the MCAT but have no medical background - believe will work for others.
I pay my employees ten dollars an hour plus tips and am looking forward to paying a quarterly bonus with our first profitable quarter. I really don’t get the mentality of people who want to enrich themselves at the cost of others.
MyCo: We all love the unique atmosphere in here; what was the inspiration for the décor and style?
DF: I worked with Ryan Lloyd and Courtney Wilson from Echo Architecture. I told them I want a fun, outdoor feel and they ran with it. I’m so happy with the design! Jacob Deis and Jeff Thomas from Westside Designs were the ones that did the finishes. Everything cool in the space was built by Jacob and Jeff. They do awesome work for residential homes as well. I highly recommend! All these guys are awesome!
MyCo: Tell us about the name “Red Point” (and some of the menu item names)!
DF: “Red Point” is a rock climbing term for making a clean ascent. I’m a terrible climber. I climb like a scared cat, but I love reading books by John Krakauer and watching climbing/mountaineering videos.
“Foehnsturm” are the winds that rip through the alps and cause freak weather disruptions. “Nordwand” is “north face” in German. “Whipper” is a big fall by the lead climber. “British Junction” goes back to my time in the Army. It is an array of det cord used in a cutting charge. I liked the way the name sounds and the drink contains blueberries, raspberries and chocolate.
MyCo: I’m not sure I can say all of those names, but the drinks sure are good! What is your favorite item on the menu?
DF: I drink the green machine and Nordwand coffee every day. I also really like the Whipper. Who doesn’t like chocolate, banana, and almond butter?
MyCo: What is it like to have your café in a communal space like the Lincoln Center?
DF: I love the idea of a communal space. I’m a member of CrossFit SoCo and drop in during slow times at the café as well as go to their scheduled classes. We buy all of our coffee from Building3 Coffee two doors down. Our menu is 100% gluten-free and I would love to do something with Nightingale Bakery once they open. I’m looking forward to Goat Patch Brewery as well as Tailgate Barbecue and Mountain Valley Market opening. We are not in a zero-sum game. The more successful one business becomes, the more successful we will all become with the increase in traffic and visibility.
The visibility is the one thing that is hurting all of us tenants. So many people drive by and have no idea that we are a retail center with coffee, food, pilates, a chiropractor, barber shop… At least once a week we will get a call from someone who bought our Groupon saying, “We can’t find you! We just drove past an old elementary school.”
MyCo: What has been one of the most difficult things about this venture?
DF: I don’t think I have ever heard a story about someone starting a business that goes, “The planets aligned, and every day was awesome.” They say in the military, “Command is lonely.” Having had command and now starting a business - starting a business is more lonely by orders of magnitude. I don’t have peers that I’m in command with. I don’t have mentors who have been in command. And I definitely do not have the warm and loving embrace of my paycheck. Starting a business is tough. The odds are stacked against you. But I’ve always been curious and see the business as an experiment. Wondering where it will go helps me through the less enjoyable times.
MyCo: Then what has been the most rewarding?
DF: The belief that we are doing something good and are doing our part to change the world for the better. Our mission is honorable. I’m trying to serve the highest quality food that contributes to health and wellness at affordable prices. We charge $4.00 for our egg bowl and we use quality ingredients (free-range eggs from Calicrate, Maldon finishing salt, and Napa Valley Naturals organic olive oil with organic quinoa and tomatoes). I’m paying my employees the best I can. I’m trying to local-source as much as I can to support the community. We are trying to be great by doing things different.
MyCo: Do you have any events or promotionals planned soon that we should be on the lookout for?
DF: We just launched our spring seasonal smoothies: Purple Pineberry, Strawberry Lime, and Beet Berry. We are looking to extend hours soon and get out our patio furniture. And I’m working with the other tenants and local artists to put on an art show in the hallways of the school one evening in May.
Café Red Point is in the Lincoln Center found on Cascade near the Fillmore intersection. If you haven’t yet, stop by the center, grab a smoothie, and take a stroll through the halls to see what is becoming of this old elementary school! We promise it has a lot to offer!
Find out more about Café Red Point at www.caferedpoint.com/ or on their Facebook and Instagram.