Nestled in a rustic and lush shopping center, a small coffee shop on Saturday celebrated its 21st anniversary. Its owner stood beside the counter, talking to patrons while baristas smiled and greeted customers by name. Customers bustled in and out of the cozy shop, grabbing their discounted drinks and standing outside to read signs posted on the windows.
For many, it was a bittersweet day. Logan’s Espresso Cafe, a staple in the north Boulder area, will be forced to leave its longtime location at the end of the year, perhaps closing for good.
Logan Patterson, who risked his savings to open the cafe in 2002, planned to retire this year and hand off ownership to a long-time employee, Emily Kryska. Patterson, 73, was ready for relaxation when his landlord told him in April that his lease would not be renewed.
“The first time he told me, I just turned around and walked away from him; I didn’t say a word,” Patterson said, recalling the first of multiple meetings with his landlords. “I am totally devastated; I have worked so hard, and I continue to work. It’s just the most bizarre thing.”
The cafe at 3980 Broadway sits at the end of a building in Hillside Shops, owned by John Konidaris, also known as John Conis. Patterson and other tenants said the landlord already had a notorious reputation before this year for not renewing the lease of the popular Mexican restaurant Cilantro in March and forcing it to relocate.
Tenants said Konidaris routinely contracts one-year leases, which he said introduces instability and generates chaos.
Additionally, Konidaris has had conflicts with his neighbor, the Nomad Playhouse, which is owned by Tara High School and shares a parking lot with the shopping center. In 2015, Konidaris booted multiple audience members’ cars in an apparent turf war, leading to community outrage.
“He’s always had a terrible reputation since I moved in. I just never thought it’d come back to haunt me,” Patterson said.
Konidaris did not comment when reached by phone.
Since the initial conversation in April, Patterson said he and Konidaris have had a few conversations and spats, but Patterson says he still has no idea why Konidaris is kicking him out now, especially after giving multiple conflicting reasons. Patterson said Konidaris told him that Patterson was no longer able to afford the rent. But later in the conversation, Konidaris told Patterson the cafe had been too successful and was filling up the parking spots shared with Lucky’s Market.
While Patterson said he offered to renegotiate the lease agreement and reported that most of his customers walk to his shop from the surrounding neighborhood, Konidaris stuck to his decision to terminate the lease in January 2024.
“A coffee shop is more than just coffee,” said Kryska, who was set to inherit the cafe after working there for 13 years. “Our neighborhood deserves us.”
Patterson is still fighting to keep the cafe alive. In July, he started a petition for community members to sign, hoping the public outrage would convince Konidaris to let him stay. Similar actions had worked in the past, with Konidaris reportedly abandoning his car booting habits shortly after the Nomad incidents gathered attention.
The petition, which currently has more than 3,000 signatures, is posted on the cafe’s windows, where customers can read what others have written about the beloved hotspot. At the cafe’s 21st anniversary event on Saturday, customers gathered and talked with Patterson and each other about the upcoming loss to the neighborhood. Some even traveled from outside of Boulder, having heard about the issue online.
“We love this place. It’s the only place where kids can play; this is kinda a dream for parents,” said customer Ava Asher, who is among the many parents who drink coffee while their kids run around the patio and stairs next to the cafe.
Added customer Nadav Enbar, “This guy is the greatest thing that’s happened to this neighborhood,. I’ve been coming here for 10 years. He’s the glue to this community.”
Though the community outpour of support has been great, Konidaris has not retracted his decision. On Monday, customers and neighbors told Patterson they watched as Konidaris posted bright red “For Lease” signs on the windows of the cafe, even covering up the petition comments for a period of time.
For Patterson, this means there is little hope of keeping the cafe in the area. By his estimates, it would take around $300,000 to move to another location, something he says he is not willing to do at this point in his career.
“It’s a neighborhood treasure. People love me. They love my shop,” Patterson said. “I’m just heartbroken, I’ve watched so many kids grow up here.”
Barring any developments, the cafe plans to remain open until December. Patterson said he will take the remaining month on the lease to move his things out, leaving behind the handcrafted architecture that became the property of Konidaris the second it was installed into the walls.
Community members continue to reach out to Patterson and his staff with condolences and support as that time draws nearer.
“It’s become bigger than me,” Patterson said. “It’s kind of symbolic of what Boulder and what everyone in the country doesn’t want to see happening to this country where small businesses are just getting destroyed and taken away.”