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Side dish: New dessert spot downtown 

There will be chocolate

Ever since the demise of Michelle's Chocolatiers nearly five years ago (yeah, it's been that long), folks have lamented the lack of a dedicated dessert destination downtown, outside of Josh & John's Ice Creams. So sweet tooths should be glad to hear that Manitou Springs' Pikes Peak Chocolate and Ice Cream (pikespeakchocolate.com) plans to open an expansion at 125½ N. Tejon St. by March 19.

Owner Laura Thomason says she actually looked at the Michelle's space, as well as Josh & John's former Academy Boulevard location, before finding the right spot. For those not familiar with her outfit, she explains that aside from truffles purchased on the East Coast, she makes all her chocolates in-house with Pennsylvania-based (and Cargill-owned) Peter's Chocolate, items from fudge and bark to animal-themed "critters" like Twinky Dogs. She also sells old-fashioned sodas, licorice and gourmet chocolate bars, and plans to add inedible retail items like rubber duckies and Hello Kitty merch to the mix in the new space.

After opening with daytime hours, Thomason says, she'll weigh demand for nighttime service. The location won't have seating, making it more of a grab-and-go model.

Curry to chile

The small space at 26 S. Wahsatch Ave., didn't stay vacant long, after the Curry Leaf moved to 321 N. Tejon St. in January: Tamales Loco (425-6562) opens today, March 1, under the care of husband-and-wife team Alfredo Perez and Patricia Medina.

Medina says they'll be open daily for all three meals, from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (until 2 a.m., Fridays and Saturdays), offering the full menu at all hours, plus weekend specials like menudo and shrimp cocktails. Breakfast will feature items like chorizo-and-egg burritos, with lunch and dinner bringing a wide menu of everything from chile rellenos, tacos and smothered burritos to four styles of tamales.

"Everything is homemade," says Medina. "We'll have fresh tortillas daily," plus red and green sauces, all influenced by Perez's Guanajuato (central Mexico) roots and complemented by horchata and Mexican and American sodas.

À la carte

Smiley's Bakery & Cafe (323 N. Tejon St., smileysbakerycafe.com) plans to open for dinner service until 9 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays, beginning March 1. Signs inside the eatery say the full menu will be available, plus "Cajun comfort food dinner specials," and live music.

Adam's Mountain Café (934 Manitou Ave., #102, Manitou Springs, adamsmountain.com) released a new dinner menu last week, featuring items like a build-your-own mac 'n cheese and orange-and-honey-marinated, chutney-and-goat-cheese-topped Chicken Barcelona.

— Matthew Schniper

  • Also: Smiley's starts dinner service

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