Opened in 2009, Arugula Bar e Ristorante is the realization of Alec Schuler’s dream to create a simple, natural and elegant dining experience in North Boulder. We are tasteful Italian dining with the warmth of home in a modern environment, infusing the best of Italian and Mediterranean culinary traditions with our contemporary and health conscious interpretations. We create balanced meals using naturally raised meats, in-season organic local produce and fish and shellfish which is in accordance with Monterey Bay Aquarium’s guidelines for sustainability. Our menu changes twice a week, usually printed on Tuesdays and Fridays, and is a constantly evolving creation that helps us to utilize local and seasonal products. This format keeps it enjoyable, fresh and innovative for staff and customers alike, Buon Appetito.
Chef/Proprietor Alec Schuler was born and raised in the suburbs of New York by immigrant European parents, and came to Boulder at the age of 18. Extensive world travels have strongly influenced his outlook on world cuisines. After eating his way around the world for a few years in his 20’s, he found his culinary interests resonating most with Italian cuisines, and the seed of Arugula Restaurant was sown. Thanks to his half Italian wife, Gabriella, and her extended family in Italy, some of their travels included many amazing Italian feasts. Gabriella and Alec are proud and busy parents of four young sons. Alec is a graduate of CU Boulder (1995) and Manhattan’s Natural Gourmet Institute (2001). As an avid biker (and bike commuter), skier/boarder, mountain lover and qigong practitioner he is mindful of the importance of a wholesome and healthy diet. His nutrition-oriented culinary training, culinary passions and lifestyle fits his restaurants – Arugula Bar e Ristorante and Tangerine.
Executive Chef Sven Hedenas spent 22 years as the executive chef at the 14th street Bar & Grill until his family sold it. There he served the traditional American food they were famous for, as well as food and wine inspired by his travels and reading. French cooking is his main passion, but he also finds inspiration in modern and traditional cuisine from his native land of Sweden.
When not cooking, he enjoys staying in great shape, classical music, good wine and people.
Arugula (Eruca sativa) has been eaten in the Mediterranean basin since Roman times, and was only recently domesticated. Known as Rucola or Rughetta in Italian, its medicinal properties were highly regarded in ancient times, including those of an aphrodisiac. Arugula was repeatedly mentioned for its medicinal properties in Pliny the Elder’s Natural History, circa AD 77. The rich, zesty and slightly sweet flavor combined with its long history and healthy attributes symbolizes our restaurant.
About the artwork
It all started many years ago at a corkscrew museum in Menerbes, Provence. Alec became enthralled with antique corkscrews and began collecting them, with the idea to display them at his imaginary restaurant in his mind. After several years of collecting them (and other antique food and wine implements) the imaginary restaurant became Arugula! Rather than displaying them in a museum format he wanted something with style. Along with the help of his father and Longmont artist Javan M. Stackley, who constructed all the pieces, the idea was born to display them artistically with barrel hoops as frames. And what to do with all the random implements and left over corkscrews? We created the large monochrome sculptures using Louise Nevelson as our inspiration – an homage to this wonderful 20th century artist.