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Side dish: Grounds and Pounds coffee 

Ass-kicking coffee

A coffee house called Grounds and Pounds (8836 N. Union Blvd., 282-3844): "Oh," you figure, "I get it ... like coffee grounds or beans by the pound. Haha."

Think again, Chachi. Take note of the business's logo (see it on Facebook), with the coffee-mug handle made out of brass knuckles. We're talking a pretty clever double entendre, presumably describing coffee talk, but actually referring to the mixed martial arts strategy known as ground-and-pound, which, according to a basic Wikipedia entry, involves "taking an opponent to the ground ... and then striking the opponent, primarily with fists and elbows."

Fun! And um ... kinda intimidating. Fear not. Manager Audrey Sanchez says there are no brass knuckles under the register for unruly customers. It's just that owner Taves Maciel, a hotel manager by day, is also an amateur MMA fighter, in addition to coffee connoisseur. The rest of the smack-down: The five-month-old outfit serves Colorado Coffee Merchants java and pastries from Sweet Daphne Confections.

Room to party

Mid-October should see the opening of The Carter Payne, "a historic events center" inside the former African Methodist Episcopal Church at 320 S. Weber St. Expected to hold up to 300 guests, the 114-year-old building, last used as office space by HUB International, has been renovated and will be run by Garden of the Gods Gourmet (godsgourmet.net).

Co-owner Sandy Vanderstoep says the space will be "a community resource," where GGG would be the house caterer, but not the exclusive one. Look for the company's next Community Dinner on Oct. 23, with $20 seats benefitting Kids on Bikes and the Community Partnership for Child Development.

À la carte

Paradise Pizza, home to a unique hash-brown crust pizza, closed last week at 3609-15 Austin Bluffs Pkwy. Co-owner John Rocco says that although he'd developed a handful of loyal customers, "our product just didn't catch on." He cites poor advertising returns and the overall economy as contributing factors. "We still feel that we have a really good product," he says, adding that he and partner Linda Lindeman may test the Springs market again in the future.

The Munch Box, basically a glorified "snack bar in a carpet store" at 3132 N. Hancock Ave., has also closed.

• Denver-based chain Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill (eatgarbanzo.com) opened its third Colorado Springs location (and 14th total location in-state) at 1685 Briargate Pkwy., #323, on Wednesday, Sept. 28.

La Perla Tapatia (laperlatapatiacs.com) has moved from the west side to 4737 N. Academy Blvd.

  • Also: Garden of the Gods Gourmet expanding.

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