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Empty Plate

Plate World Cuisine (9420 Briar Village Point), one of the few gourmet independent restaurants on the Springs' north side, closed its doors early this week, a few months shy of its third birthday.

According to co-owner Walter Iser, whose business remains strong at Walter's Bistro (146 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd.), "It's just the economy, a lack of spending in the area."

But to hear it from co-owner Ryan Blanchard, who also serves as executive chef at the Antlers Grille (4 S. Cascade Ave.), there may be more at play than that.

"As a city, we don't embrace restaurants here," he says. "I grew up in Boston, where restaurants are famous. Chefs are celebrities to some extent. We aren't that city."

Blanchard, citing an unparalleled "cool factor" to Plate's design and an original "world food" concept, notes that in a recent Top 101 list, City magazine named Plate the 31st-best restaurant in the country.

"How does No. 31 not survive?" he asks.

In cheerier news, Blanchard says Judge Baldwin's (one of his hotel responsibilities) just released a new menu. And in downright whimsical news, Sunday brunch at the Antlers now features mind reader/magician Benji Bruce (benjibruce.com) performing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Blanchard calls him "amazing."

Fresh Canvas

Manitou Springs' Business of Art Center (513 Manitou Ave., thebac.org) has launched the Canvas Café at Venue 515. Though it currently features only drinks — including beer, wine and espresso — from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, BAC administrative assistant Melissa Lafontaine says a food menu featuring soups, quiches and the like is under development, possibly for release around a grand re-opening celebration Aug. 21.

The café was previously called Espresso with Art, and kept less steady hours. Lafontaine describes the new space as "like an artists' café," with murals throughout, tables crafted by BAC members and art projects that patrons can participate in.

Take note

Sweet Georgia Brown's Southern Food Restaurant (1665 Lashelle Way) closed recently. The Fort Carson-area location was the latest of several local incarnations of the eatery since the late '90s.

The Curry Leaf Restaurant (26 S. Wahsatch Ave., curryleafrestaurant.com), now under the sole ownership of Lana Hillstrom, will soon debut daily specials along with its regular Sri Lankan menu. Hillstrom says she's also adjusted her curries to be slightly hotter, by loyal customer request.

• Homebrewers: Visit coloradostatefair.com for details on entering the 2009 Homebrew Competition, featuring 28 categories of professional judging, by Aug. 15.

Dish on food news at scene@csindy.com.

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