Pi the numbers at 3.14
"Older generations find it nostalgic, while younger generations find it retro," says Carma Barr, owner of the newly opened 3.14 Sweet & Savory Pi Bar (5152 Centennial Blvd., 314sweetandsavorypi.com). "I wanted something everyone can relate to."
That something is pies, as the business name suggests, but Barr's versions represent "a spinoff of the old English tradition." Booze-infused items range from a Guinness Sakes! Beef and Stout Meat Pi in a cheddar cheese crust, to Triple Berry Grand Marnier and bourbon-apple sweet pies. Twelve-ounce pot pies, $9 in the case of the Guinness, get mashed potatoes and gravy for $2 extra; a seriously swine-y pecan-bacon pie is $6 from the sweets list.
Barr says she and her chef, Katie Seymour, who worked for Service Systems Associates at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, collaborate and work from Barr's recipes, some of which date back to her grandmother. Barr left a 25-year career in the industrial security industry, including Department of Defense work, to earn a sommelier certification along the way to opening 3.14, and her team rolls two types of pastry doughs constantly. They also make the skin-on, chunky, creamy mashers and chicken-stock-based brown gravy in-house.
"There's quite a craft to it," she says. "We're pounding out 100 pounds of flour a week in small batches. It's all hands-on. We want to keep it artisan."
Seymour's recent spent-grain saison banana-bread coffee cake certainly qualifies. A daily chalkboard menu of around four savories and six sweets means flavors will rotate regularly. Barr makes vegetarian options, hosts gluten-free Friday specials, and serves beers and small-estate wines.
'Game' meats in Manitou
The former Dulcimer Shop location (740 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs) will open imminently as Coffee Quest (see Facebook page). Its tagline — "more nerdiness than you can handle" — sums up the gaming aspect, wherein board and card games innumerable will be headed by the likes of Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons.
Co-owner James Ellzey has gamed for almost 30 years, but also began working in restaurants at age 15. He left his most recent posting at a bar in Florida to return to his home state and open his own business, intending to serve all three meals, coffee and espresso drinks, custom root beer and sarsaparilla from Gold Camp Brewing, and beer and wine (by early 2016).
Ellzey has tapped Melissa "Kitty" Williams, with 15 years' experience across local kitchens, to head up food affairs. Her own quest is to eschew frying and grilling to create a "simple" fresh menu themed around medieval fare.
Her "dragon eggs" dish, for example, places an egg inside a pitted avocado, then bakes a cheese cap over it. Another offering plates fruit, meat and bread cuts on a platter, in period banquet-hall style. Breakfast will likely see a porridge of some sort.