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FAC opens a coffee shop, feed the firefighters & openings/closings 

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Feed a firefighter

"It's our way to give back after the fires," says Pete Aiello, DoubleTree by Hilton executive chef and president of the American Culinary Federation's Pikes Peak Chapter.

Aiello is speaking about an every other Friday series of "thank-you meals" for one of 21 Colorado Springs firehouses, during which a local chef and Pikes Peak Community College students "prepare a huge spread, plus leave extra" for area firefighters.

Help out by attending the Culinary Passport Event at 6 p.m., Saturday, April 12, at the Julie Penrose Hall (9 El Pomar Road, pikespeakchefs.org). A $35 ticket serves as a passport to a dozen cuisines, from Korean eats by Margarita at PineCreek chef Eric Viedt, to Brother Luck Street Eats' take on French, and local firefighters' own USA-repping green chile. Locally made (or roasted) beer, wine and coffee will also be served.

Museum munchies

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (30 W. Dale St., csfineartscenter.org) debuted Alice's: Food. Art. Coffee. on Tuesday. It's located in the former gift shop space and serviced during regular museum hours by the local Summit Catering outfit. Barista Espresso provides the drip coffee (there's no espresso machine) while Summit's menu consists of four sandwiches, four salads, a few sides and an array of baked goods.

"We hope that this will add a new dynamic to the FAC, making it not just a fun and artful place to visit but also a place to hang out," says communications director Warren Epstein.

Café 36 and the Deco Lounge remain in-play for private functions and pre-theater dining, he says, noting future FAC plans for a lunch service at 36 and a gift-shop presence. "We're poised for really big things here," he says, "that you haven't seen before."

À la carte

Coquette's Bistro & Bakery (coquettesbistroandbakery.com) has opened at its new 321 N. Tejon St. address.

• A few outfits have recently closed: Elke's German Deli, at 6922 Mesa Ridge Pkwy., Fountain; Bara Sushi & Grill at 1645 Briargate Pkwy., inside the Promenade Shops at Briargate; and Blue Sage Cafe at 5152 Centennial Blvd., with chef Greg Soukup saying he "may show up somewhere again this summer."

• Open since June 2013, Loco Bean Coffee (locobeancoffee.com) will soon add its third drive-thru, this one at Powers Boulevard and Barnes Road. The first Loco at 4797 Barnes Road was joined by a second at 2438 E. Pikes Peak Ave. recently; owner John Reinecke also vends at the World Arena and Air Force Academy. Loco's beans hail from Oregon's Cascade Estate Coffees, while the same machines used by Starbucks enable more rapid service than his competitors, says Reinecke: "It's pump, pull, steam and out."

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