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More sun spots

Two years ago, we told you about Solar Roast Coffee (226 N. Main St., Pueblo, solarroast.com), the one-of-a-kind coffee roaster (see "Sunny Delight," Feb. 28, 2008). Checking back in with brothers Dave and Mike Hartkop, we learned that business has been beyond sunny for them lately.

With a second location just opened at 3429 Dillon Drive (719/289-7458) in the Pueblo Mall, Mike says total sales in January were up a full 100 percent over this time last year.

"We're trying to keep ahead of the game," he says, "and we're keenly aware of our limitations."

The modest capacity of Helios 4, their solar concentrator and roaster, has kept them from accepting major national contracts they've been offered. But Dave's next brainchild, Helios 5, is the "big beast on the drawing board" that should be able to roast 2,000 pounds a day.

Mike says he hopes to secure land and funding to start building by summer's end; the project should take about six months. In the meantime, expect a third Solar Roast outfit inside the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center's children's museum by mid-March. ("We've got to start 'em early," jokes Mike.)

Solar roast beans and coffee may also be found inside locally produced Lotion Bar Café (lotionbarcafe.com) soaps and inside a Durango-based Silverton Chocolate (silvertonchocolates.com) bar called the Solar Roast Coffee Chocolate Bar ($3.95).

'Burrito valet'

Chipotle may be getting hammered in national news for its tomato sourcing (see "Chipotle gets it right, right?" on the IndyBlog, Feb. 11), but locally, the outfit appears intent to please. At the 17 S. Tejon St. location, Chipotle has addressed a serious lack of parking spots by offering a "burrito valet" service. Place an order online or with your iPhone, or fax it in with a credit card number; then, when you're close to the restaurant, call 632-4311 to have the food brought out.

On a saucier note: In January, that same Chipotle location also announced buy-one/get-one beer and margaritas, with free chips and salsa, between 4 and 8 p.m., on Fridays.

À la carte

• Olav Peterson of Denver's Bistro One will present a homemade ice cream talk and tasting from 1 to 3 p.m., Feb. 20, at Extraordinary Ingredients Gourmet Pantry (612 N. Tejon St., extraordinaryingredients.com).

• Students and teachers: Visit organicitsworthit.org/join/current-campaigns to enter your school in a drawing for an organic garden or organic vending machine from the Organic Trade Association. The site also offers recipes, nutrition info and more.

Denver Restaurant Week (denver.org/denverrestaurant/default.aspx) runs Feb. 20 through March 5 (yes, that's two weeks), and features $52.80 multi-course dinners for two at participating outfits.

  • Solar Roast expands, 'burrito valets' at Chipotle, an ice cream talk and more.

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