Bites of Barcelona
After three trips to Spain in recent years, Pizzeria Rustica owner Dave Brackett and his wife have decided that authentic, Barcelona-style tapas (small plates) are needed in the Springs. Come October, tentatively, they plan to introduce them: In the former Elly Blue space at 2607 W. Colorado Ave., just a handful of doors up from the pizzeria that brought us a true taste of Italy, they'll be opening the 35-seat TAPAteria.
Brackett says to expect items that are 75 percent gluten-free, 50 percent vegetarian and 33 percent vegan, featuring both local and imported, Old World ingredients. The venture won't feature a head chef, but Brackett plans to have guest chefs and sommeliers present special courses and dinners; Alpine Chef's Pete Aiello might make paella one weekend, for example.
Menu items will start at $3 for things like olives and nuts, and build to cheese plates priced at $2 an ounce and more expensive charcuterie plates. Also look for a retail deli component, selling rare, specialty hams and cheeses.
After a brief period of closure, the Metropolitain (101 N. Tejon St.) reopened in mid-July under new owners Raul Blanco and Michael Obeley. They've changed the subterranean space's concept from gourmet martini bar to steakhouse and Sinaloa-style Mexican grill.
Blanco comes with a marketing background, and Obeley with a restaurant background; both are currently commuting from Denver. Blanco says prices will be a little lower than at the outfit's previous incarnation, with a lunch sirloin and a drink running $8 and dinner plates (save for a $17, 16-ounce steak) between $8 and $13. Also look for weekly specials, like $1 taco Tuesdays, $4 hamburger Wednesdays and 39-cent wing Thursdays.
Between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., Thursday through Saturday, expect only appetizers as the spot turns more into a bar, with standard drink offerings. (Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday.)
When asked about a go-for item, Blanco cites a signature "Lobito Sauce," served with both seafood items and steaks. Catch a grand opening party Thursday, Aug. 12, with $2 margaritas and $2 shots.
À la carte
• Attend the eighth annual Craft Lager Festival from 1 to 6 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 14, and Sunday, Aug. 15, in Manitou Springs' Memorial Park (502 Manitou Ave., craftlagerfestival.com).
• Catch Chevy Lee Raw Foods' last Raw Fusion dinner until June 2011, at 6:30 p.m., Aug. 19, in Canvas Café at Venue 515 (515 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 205-4639). Seats are $30.