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Side dish: Jorge's to open soon 

A very long engagement

When we last spoke to Jorge Ayala in March about the renovation of Jorge's (2427 W. Colorado Ave., 634-9031), he told us he expected to be open by late May or early June, after a $500,000 renovation.

It now being January, Ayala says he hopes to be open by Monday the 9th. And that finishing touches could push the date back a bit further.

"We did a major, major overhaul," he says, noting that he exceeded his projected budget and ran into "all kinds of things," including significant structural problems. Fortunately, business has been good at the 25-plus-year-old Jorge's Sombrero in Pueblo, helping fund the effort.

When the new spot finally opens, guests will see "the most up-to-date building on the west side," complete with a custom-made bar, expanded kitchen space and seating, and new bathrooms — literally a total overhaul, but around the same locally beloved menu.

Paso to pato (duck)

In the former Café El Paso location at 3840 N. Nevada Ave., Drake Hill Bar & Grill (633-0103) opened earlier this week. Owner and local accountant Richard Hill is behind the "high-end sports bar," complete with nine HD TVs, pool tables and an interior face-lift. "It's really nice; we put a lot of money into it," he says.

As for drinks and eats, Hill mentions top-shelf liquors and gourmet versions of typical bar food. He promises specials soon, as well as a special house green chile and salsa — not as a nod to the former occupants, but because he has his own recipes he's proud of.

À la carte

• As the first incarnation enters its 46th year at 320 N. Circle Drive, a second Bean Bandit (634-9946) is expected to open by Monday, Jan. 9, in the former Blue Agave location at 2819 N. Nevada Ave., next to Johnny's Navajo Hogan. Owner Derek Vasquez (brother of El Padrino's Darin Vasquez) says his menu will mostly be the same as his mother's, but with his own daily specials added to the mix, including Pueblo-style sandwiches like grinders and sloppers with green chile french fries.

• Nine Old Colorado City restaurants (dineoldcoloradocity.com) have united to offer a new progressive happy hour inspired by the popular progressive dinner concept. Between 4 and 6 p.m., Tuesdays and Wednesdays through March, find $4 to $6 specials including beers, wines, spirits and small plates — with different deals at each location.

Naturally's Market and Cafe (110 Cañon Ave., Manitou Springs, naturallys.net) recently expanded its breakfast menu, adding familiar items such as French toast and egg-based plates.

  • Also: A second Bean Bandit, progressive happy hours in Old Colorado City

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