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The word on an apothecary, chocolatier, cupcake biz and a cocktail comp 

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Room for dessert

Manitou Springs' embattled Local First Grocer has closed for business at 116 Cañon Ave. — visit our IndyBlog for more on that — but the storefront won't sit vacant. Anna's Apothecary (annasapothecary.com), the herb-and-tincture company previously housed inside the co-op, has taken over half of the space, while chocolatier Radiantly Raw (radiantlyrawkitchen.com) will occupy the other half by late May.

Also by that time, Radiantly Raw will assume part of another retail space inside the The Cupcake Doctor (thecupcakedoctor.com), which is moving from 6455 Omaha Blvd. to 3312 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., and opening full-scale mid-April. Owner Desirae Leipply says it will be a dessert destination, likely with "generous" hours and featuring everything from RR's chocolates and a SwitchBack coffee pourover bar to TCD's cupcakes, cookies, brownies, muffins and seasonal specialties.

Both businesses will prep out of that kitchen, which may host other cottage industry entities as well. RR plans to expand its product line at both locations, with exclusive treats not found at 10 other locations where limited truffles are sold. TCD will get The Springs Cupcake Truck on the road shortly after opening, too; find its locations on its Facebook page.

That's the spirit

Our town's bartending community has conspired to create the inaugural Colorado Springs Team Cocktail Competition, slated for 3:30 p.m., Sunday, April 19, at Ivywild School (1604 S. Cascade Ave., tinyurl.com/qezqpfq).

Nine drink houses — Shuga's, The Famous, Nosh, Urban Steam, Wobbly Olive, 503W, Blue Star, Odyssey and the Principal's Office — will participate in the friendly face-off, with Simon Ford, co-founder of New York's The 86 Co. spirit company, celebrity judging.

The format: Each participant has been randomly assigned one of 86's products, being a vodka, gin, rum or tequila, and has until competition time to construct a drink to be judged on presentation, taste and consistency. The top three will then compete, Iron Chef style, to make a new drink on the fly. Someone will win, everyone will cheer ... good times.

Samples of the first nine drinks will be served to guests, along with light food items, which is why entry is $30 ($15 for non-drinkers).

À la carte

Gold Hill Java Downtown, at 332 N. Tejon St. since mid-2011, shuttered last week.

Red Leg Brewing Company (4630 Forge Road, Suite B, redlegbrewing.com) recently unveiled a 65-seat, 1,100 square-foot upstairs tap room expansion, complete with a cool Colorado Springs mural by Madeleine Einfalt. Red Leg cans are now sold across town, and the outfit aims to add more conditioning tanks to its 10-barrel brew system soon. New small-batch beers are released every Friday.

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