Open since 1947 — and owned for the last 17 years by Mi Lee, who maintains that it holds the second-oldest continuous liquor license in town — the Dutch Mill Tavern is undergoing a significant remodeling and rebranding to become 503 West (503 W. Colorado Ave., dutchmilltavern.com).
The overhaul is "to align with today's generation," says restaurant PR rep Emilio Ortiz (brother of new co-owner Rollie Ortiz), "to reconnect with the people of Colorado Springs and to open our doors to a more inclusive demographic ... to be more modern and in-tune."
Lee's Korean influence on the current bar-food menu already can be seen in items like the kimchi burger. But Rollie says when the new menu debuts around early to mid-December, we should expect the addition of more "Pacific-influenced" items that are "trendy and exciting," like what's become common to food trucks.
As for the face-lift, Rollie (whose wife is Lee's daughter Nina) describes whole walls removed, a new bar and a new front bay door that opens to seasonal sidewalk seating.
The original Gold Hill Java location at 757 Gold Hill Place, Woodland Park, recently became Café Leo (loveeachothercafe.com). Owners Dennis and Emilie Fryer formerly worked at Gold Hill, and purchased it in July 2012. Dennis says that since then they've "taken a year to learn, go to trade schools and narrow down what we wanted to do."
That education included Michigan's Midwest Barista School and tutelage under industry "big dog" Tracy Allen at Kansas City's Brewed Behavior. With the subsequent rebranding has come a new menu that includes breakfast items all day and light sandwiches. Leo focuses on small batches of single-origin coffees, including a Ugandan bean drum-roasted specifically in partnership with Yobel Market — some of whose retail items are sold at the café.
À la carte
• Rocco's Italian Restaurant (roccoscolorado.com) recently moved from 3878 Maizeland Road to the 3802 space, formerly the Steaksmith. A second El Rey Del Taco (522 S. Academy Blvd., 550-4272) location has opened in the former Rocco's spot.
• The former Yakitori Grill at 2628 W. Colorado Ave. has turned into Pho 65 (636-2120) — not to be confused with Monument's Pho 82 or North Academy Boulevard's Pho 54. New owner Trung Nguyen formerly co-ran Saigon Grill when it was at 31st Street and Colorado Avenue. Look for a similar menu of bun and pho bowls, and "no Chinese food" according to Nguyen's partner Julia.
• Security's Kwik Inn (385 Main St.), originally opened in 1956 and turned into Dad's Kwik Inn Diner in late 2010, recently closed.