Uncle Sam's Pancake House
341 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-9525
A little history: The original Uncle Sam may have been New York meatpacker Samuel Wilson. During the War of 1812, he produced rations for the Army. Each package was stamped with US, for United States. But locals tied the meaning to Wilson — Uncle Sam. There's more to the story, including about a century of ambiguity, but by the time J.M. Flagg designed the "I Want You" recruiting poster in 1917, the white-goateed man was canonized.
Uncle Sam's name graces the long-standing, patriotically painted A-frame diner in Manitou. Their huevos rancheros ($7.75) aren't bad: two eggs under green chile with home fries and flour tortillas. Less-cooked eggs do better in this one, adding depth to inoffensive green chile. Though it'd be nice to have the option to swap in corn tortillas, the seasoned-salt-orange home fries have a pleasant texture, a suitable sop for yolk and chile alike. Bottomless coffee ($1.95) does its job, one-note diner coffee through and through. — GS
Story Coffee Company
In Acacia Park, 225 N. Nevada Ave., storycoffeecompany.com
To glean a more full story on SCC, check out the photos we recently posted on our Indyblog, where we've also told much of the background narrative to this nearly one-of-a-kind tiny house business. Boarding the trailer, uniquely located inside Acacia Park, you can't help but be charmed by the smallness of the structure and the monumental quality of the product.
Menus rotate every six weeks with featured roasters and a signature special — so you'll have to sample the fantastic Coffee Old Fashioned ($5) on its next appearance. To brilliant effect, it subbed a chocolatey Guatemalan cold brew in place of the cocktail's whiskey, mixing in a maple simple syrup, orange bitters and fresh peel, and a cherry. Co-owner Carissa Niemyer's history judging at the U.S. Barista Championship also shows with a nicely under-sweet, richly creamy, thick-crema vanilla latte ($4), highlighting the sole syrup offered and a Mexican Ethiopian blend. — MS
Iron Bird Brewing
402 S. Nevada Ave., 424-7002, ironbirdbrewing.com
A little over a year-and-a-half since it opened, Iron Bird recently debuted its like-sized, neighboring acquisition, which functions as a pizzeria, sharing the expansive new patio with the taproom side. Cool graffiti art from a Denver muralist graces the pizzeria's walls above slick new metal-framed booths backed by polished plywood and lit by warm sconces.
IB makes its own dough for New York-style, thin crust pies that maintain tooth and density, cooked through in a brick oven but still blonde in appearance. Ample cream cheese under a bacon-bit-flecked mozzarella cap on the Ally ($10) makes it a rare bird, balancing jalapeño heat and roasted garlic essence. It shines compared to a sad, dry Caeser salad ($6). The corner on creamy cask ale locally remains IB's strong suit, the Propaganda IPA bursting with citrus aromas and the Samsquanch Toffee Nut Brown (each $5) finishing sweet with true toffee and caramel notes and chocolate. — MS