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Talking shop with Dave Nigh 

Through Nigh Imports, Dave Nigh brings unique ingredients into the Springs for customers like the Craftwood Inn, Margarita at PineCreek and the Cliff House. He does the same for high-end restaurants in Boulder and Denver. His previous retail spot, Extraordinary Ingredients, closed last year.

Indy: How do you see Colorado Springs' food scene right now?

DN: As far as the food coming into Colorado Springs, I think it's getting better and better. I think there's great opportunities for the farmers. ... All in all, I think Colorado Springs is very healthy. ... I look forward to Colorado Springs, in a couple of years, doing a lot of what Denver's done.

Indy: How far behind Denver do you think we are?

DN: Before the economic downturn, late 2008, I was thinking Colorado Springs is probably only eight years, nine years away. Now I think it's gone up. [The city's] ripe for more independent restaurants. I think a lot of them may need to be dispersed out to the east side; more so than Manitou Springs and areas that really rely on more seasonal, outside money.

I think [Colorado Springs is] healthier than, say, a Boulder, as odd of a comment as that is. There's too many restaurants. ... Per capita, it's probably grown 20, 25 percent more than they can truly, you know, [support]. Some of these people that have restaurants in Boulder are really hanging on by their chinny-chin-chin because of that reality.

Indy: What's the most interesting product carried by Nigh Imports?

DN: The most interesting is probably the newest: The newest we've got is a red cerignola olive that is like those green cerignolas that you see — I think Whole Foods even sells them. They're true red olives, it's not brine-driven or anything like that, it's just a real beautiful [olive]. What I'm hearing from the chefs — I've only had it a week — [is] it's got great flavor, great price, and it just has real beautiful color on the plate.

Indy: What is one of your favorite restaurants in Colorado Springs?

DN: I would say, and I haven't been for a while, I really like that Ethiopian [restaurant, Uchenna]. Yeah, the service isn't great and it's not hoity-toity, but I didn't go there for hoity-toity. I just enjoy the experience: the kindness, the atmosphere, the food, the smells, the flavors, you know, and don't get there enough.

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