New cafe shines bright on Main St. |

New cafe shines bright on Main St.

Sharon Sullivan
Owner and chef Nick Santos stands in front of the new Cafe Sol, 420 Main St., which he opened with his wife, Avery West, on Sept. 12. The cafe uses a lot of organic and locally grown produce in its soups, salads and paninis.
Sharon Sullivan / | Free Press

Baskets of fresh produce sit on the counter at Cafe Sol, a new Main Street cafe, where much of the produce used is purchased locally — from Field to Fork CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in Palisade and Okagawa Farms on Orchard Mesa.

Organic fresh herbs are also on the menu — they’re grown on the premises hydroponically near the cafe’s sunny window.

Business has been good since Nick Santos and his wife, Avery West, opened Cafe Sol, at 420 Main St., Sept. 12.

“We opened on Thursday at 3, and we’ve been going strong since,” Santos said, while taking a break from cooking Tuesday.

The cafe specializes in soups, salads and paninis — an Italian-style grilled sandwich — made with bread baked locally at San Jose Bakery, 507 30 Road.

Open for lunch and dinner, the menu includes a large number of salads and paninis from which to choose, as well as appetizers and side dishes including grilled portobello mushroom, pasta salad and a hummus plate with veggies, feta cheese and olive oil.

At least four soups made from scratch are offered daily. On Tuesday, there was seafood chowder, Mexican chicken noodle, creamy tomato and carrot ginger.

And, because Santos inherited a frozen yogurt machine, he’s added to the menu many flavors of fruit smoothies, as well as frozen yogurt sundaes and homemade ice cream sandwiches made with cookies from Homestyle Bakery.

The namesake salad, the Cafe Sol, is made with mixed greens tossed with a fresh herb, roasted garlic and shallot vinaigrette dressing topped with roasted beets, goat cheese, fresh herbs, spicy candied walnuts and banana bread croutons.

Santos said he cooks a lot of gluten-free and vegan dishes. There’s also plenty of meat options — paninis made with ahi tuna, chicken, turkey or prosciutto.

All beverages are from Colorado including the wine and beer.

Santos, 32, began cooking while in high school and then attended culinary school in Providence, R.I. He later earned a business management degree from Colorado State University in Ft. Collins where he met his wife, who grew up in Grand Junction.

Last year, the couple lived in Nicaragua where Santos worked as a sous-chef at a resort near the South Pacific. They wanted to experience living abroad before having children, Santos said. They moved to Grand Junction in November and their son, Zander, was born in May.

Cafe Sol is open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The atmosphere is casual where patrons order at the counter and outdoor seating is available.

Meal delivery is available on Main street, as well as Colorado, Rood and Grand avenues between First and Seventh streets. Cafe Sol can be reached by calling 970-986-3474 or visit the website,

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