Welcome to Arugula Bar e Ristorante, the realization of our dream to create a simple, natural, and pleasurable dining experience in Boulder. Arugula is elegant Italian dining with the warmth of home in a modern environment, infusing the best of Italian culinary tradition with our contemporary interpretations. We pride ourselves on using ingredients grown based on traditional practices, helping to remind us of our connection to the land and the seasons. We create balanced meals using meats that are naturally raised, in-season organic local produce, and fish and shellfish which is in accordance with Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guidelines for sustainability. In addition to our regular menus, each evening we print a daily specials sheet of an additional 10 to 15 dishes. This is our playground and often these dishes focus on in-season produce and fresh seafood.
Chef/Proprietor Alec Schuler was born and raised in New York by immigrant European parents. Extensive world travels have strongly influenced his outlook on world cuisines. Alec is a graduate of CU Boulder (1995) and Manhattan’s Natural Gourmet Institute (2001). As an avid biker, skier/boarder and mountain lover, he is always mindful of the importance of a wholesome and healthy diet. His nutrition-oriented culinary training 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.