If you’ve been down Walnut Street in Boulder, you’ve likely seen Sherpa’s Adventurers Restaurant & Bar. If you haven’t been inside, you’re missing out on something Unique To Colorado, with a history that spans generations and continents.
Pemba Sherpa owns the restaurant and a growing chai business that keep him busy enough. But, he’s also a world-class mountaineer. He’s guided more than 40 trips through the Himalayas and he has a heart of gold.
Boulder’s striking Flatirons attract countless visitors every year. It’s what drew Pemba here 25 years ago as a mountain guide, from half way around the world.
“Boulder is a climbing mecca,” he said. “I grew up in the Everest region of Nepal in a remote village of 10 houses called Sewangma.”
Here, inside Sherpa’s Adventurers Restaurant & Bar, visitors get a small glimpse of the Himalayas; the home of those who’ve made this a traditional Nepalese, Indian, Tibetan restaurant.
Their stories line the walls. Pemba said they’re all climbers.
Their recipes have won the hearts of locals and travelers alike. “People really seem to like the Sherpa stew,” Pemba said.
He opened the restaurant 15 years ago. He said it’s all about quality. “Every night I go back in kitchen myself and making sure all the foods are prepared fresh.”
But, it’s not just the food that has captivated diners. His homemade Sherpa Chai; passed down from generations of Sherpa people; is also a big hit.
“Each morning I have to walk 3 hours from my home to get to the school. So my mom used to make me this product every morning before I trekked to school,” Pemba said.
Five percent of the proceeds of Sherpa Chai go to charity. With the help of the climbing community and the success of the restaurant, Pemba has been able to make a big difference in his small town.
“I went back and built a permanent suspension bridge and now kids can get to their school in half hour,” he said.
Even though the restaurant and chai business keep him busy, he still finds time to get back to his roots. “When I have time to go climbing, I pack my gear and go.”
Pemba said the surest path to a meaningful life is service.
Not only is he serving up a taste of something uniquely different from a remote life in the shadow of Mount Everest, he’s bettering the lives of the people he so proudly represents.
“I know the condition of the life there. I know how harsh it is. And I know that with my small effort how much I can change these people’s life.”