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25C Deli opens in OCC, Pikes Peak Brewing eyeing massive expansion 

Side Dish

Sandwich swapping

When 25C Deli (2501 W. Colorado Ave., #108, 25cdeli.com) co-owner Brant Carlson tells me he and his wife, Stacey, have a combined 25 years of experience in restaurants, for a moment I think that must be where the name 25C comes from. Nope. Stacey points me instead to the address.

The deli opened Jan. 5 in the former Nan & Pop's Superhero Sandwich Shop, which was Uchenna's prior to that. The couple met at a TGI Fridays in Phoenix and moved to the Springs in 2013, where Brant worked for Dickey's Barbecue Pit and the Picnic Basket prior to launching this venture. He says he and Stacey gained experience at corporate and independently owned eateries, both in front- and back-of-the-house capacities; Stacey also holds a pastry degree from Scottsdale's Arizona Culinary Institute.

With 25C, he says, "we want to stay as inspired as we can ... do some experimentation and gauge the response, and let that drive our direction."

By experimentation, he's not talking anything too far out there when it comes to basic soups, sandwiches and salads. Rather, the couple has added unique touches like a house-made green chile mayo and a roasted garlic spread for the breads, a nine-grain whole wheat and a brioche-style soft white made by the Old School Bakery. Brant says he wants to shift as much as possible to local ingredients when the cost and season allow — and as 25C moves beyond its launching menu.

For now, cold cuts come via a smaller distribution company in Denver, and tomatoes are Colorado grown. A small kitchen will limit just how diverse the menu can become, but Brant envisions seasonal updates and regular specials, plus daily sweets like homemade cookies and cupcakes.

Peak demand

True to the story of so many microbreweries, 4½-year-old Pikes Peak Brewing (1756 Lake Woodmore Drive, Monument, pikespeakbrewing.com) has experienced so much demand amidst the craft-beer boom that it's being forced to grow to keep up.

"Since we signed with Western Distribution Company this past summer," says brewer/founder Chris Wright, "our volume has grown by more than 50 percent. It's exhausting. We're pumping beer through the tanks as fast as possible."

Double batches and 13-hour days should come to a stop by late fall, though, thanks to a recently announced "major expansion," equivalent to a 333-percent growth in capacity, inside 5,900 new square feet added to the existing location. To the current 10-barrel brewhouse, another 30-barrel facility will be added, in a campaign Wright calls Project Basecamp. When it's all over and he's producing upward of 13,000 barrels a year, Wright believes he'll be among the top 20 breweries in Colorado by volume.

The cost should reach about $700,000 he says, and he's still seeking investors. Wright also notes the addition of five new full-time positions.

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