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Side dish: Updates at Firehouse barbecue 

New flames

While writing our annual Bites guide last month, we learned that Firehouse Southern Style BBQ (817 W. Colorado Ave., 447-8829) quietly came under new ownership last August. Former owner Kari Tresner sold the business to her accountant, Julie Johnson, who says that she hasn't changed anything but some building cosmetics.

Also news to us: Firehouse had expanded sometime back with Firehouse on the Run BBQ (12480 Black Forest Road, coloradospringsbbqcatering.com), which Tresner sold to former employee Jeff Schickler. He describes the spot as a gas station and convenience store with a 26-seat eatery in back, plus full catering division.

Again, Schickler is using Tresner's recipes for the house barbecue sauces and hickory-smoked meats. But with 15 years' restaurant management experience, he does plan to make a few menu additions. One is his own pork Hatch green chile; another is a teriyaki pulled pork and jasmine rice plate.

First Pres(s)

Aside from a cross design built into a children's play structure, assistant manager Nicole Freyschlag says there's nothing overtly religious about month-old 225 Coffee Shop and Venue (225 N. Weber St., 884-6225), owned by nearby First Pres church.

She says that although employees are technically considered church staff and after-hours meetings are held at the space, the coffee shop and event venue caters to all demographics, and is open to everyone, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and until 10:30 p.m. on Friday for open mics and concert programming.

The shop sells organic and fair-trade Barista Espresso drinks, plus muffins, scones and cookies from upstart bakeshop Jennycakes (further introduced below). And an affiliation with local fair-trade retailer Yobel Market means last-Friday monthly documentary film showings as well as the sale of Divine Chocolate bars. Catch a celebratory grand opening weekend Feb. 17 and 18, with details on 225's Facebook page.

Pastries for Peru

While Culinary Institute for America graduate Jen Denman was on an 11-month, 11-country mission trip in 2009, she befriended a woman who helps run a Birmingham, Ala.-based organization called Not Forgotten, which works with impoverished children in Peru. As Denman launched her own baking business, Jennycakes (jennycakesbakeshop.wordpress.com) recently, she made that nonprofit the first recipient of 10 percent of her profits.

Come summer, she'll support a local charity. The Dallas transplant says she has a strong desire to give back, calling that a trend that'll outlive the current cupcake boom. Though she bakes everything up to wedding cakes, she's first considering developing her own granola line as she grows her brand.

  • Also: The word on 225 Coffee Shop and Venue

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