Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson, the co-owners of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado, both ride their bikes to work every day, year-round. They’ve even been known to ride their bikes to work during a snowstorm. "You will never see them in a car," says Danette, Bobby’s wife. "Summer, fall, winter, spring—nothing stops them from riding their bikes." Both Lachlan and Bobby seem to relish hard work and raising their heart rates above 150 beats per minute—especially Bobby, a pro cyclist turned master sommelier, who runs over mountain passes where others would need an oxygen tank just for talking.
At Frasca, the two do almost everything in their own particular way. They met six years ago while working at the French Laundry in Napa Valley (Bobby was head sommelier, Lachlan was a line cook), and they started dreaming about building a restaurant the way most people build stamina—slowly and persistently. Neither was interested in founding a restaurant empire. "We wanted to focus on one place and make it a little better each day," says Lachlan, an F&W Best New Chef 2005. Sipping an espresso and looking like a poet with his bedhead, baggy jeans and loose shirt, he adds, "My whole deal is the soul, not the show." Bobby’s approach is a little different, but equally unflagging: "I use my athletic discipline every single day," he says. "The most difficult bike race in the world is the Paris-Roubaix. It’s 160 miles in the wind and rain over cobblestoned roads. My whole approach to the challenges of being a restaurateur is: It’s the Paris-Roubaix every day."
Bobby and Lachlan moved from Napa to Boulder in the fall of 2003 and eventually found a space for Frasca—an old grocery store downtown, which they renovated themselves. They laid the floor using reclaimed freight- train beds; bought the tables for $50 from a closed-down pizza place; and drove a U-Haul to Aspen, where Bobby used to work as a sommelier at the Little Nell, and paid $1,000 for all the kitchen equipment in another defunct restaurant. Frasca opened in August 2004. The showiest thing about the place is the way the picture windows glow pink at sunset.