Friday, August 25, 2017

Metric Brewing now under construction

Posted By on Fri, Aug 25, 2017 at 3:17 PM

Metric Brewing will open near Circle and Uintah soon. - FOCUS ON THE BEER
  • Focus on the Beer
  • Metric Brewing will open near Circle and Uintah soon.
Colorado Springs has yet another brewery coming to town. It’s called Metric Brewing, it's at 1213 N. Circle Drive and it’s under construction now. Metric will be operated by Mike Centanne and Aaron Celusta of downtown's Iron Bird Brewing Co. According to a report by Focus on the Beer (which, full disclosure, is run by Indy production director Ryan Hannigan), the brewery will share a parking lot with the Safeway on Circle Drive and Uintah Avenue, just behind Cheers Liquor Mart.

“About five or six years ago back when I was dreaming of having my own brewery I always thought the name sounded great,” Centanne says. “When I met [Celusta] and Iron Bird started taking shape, Metric went on the back burner until a few months ago.” His role at Iron Bird was lessening, so he and Celusta checked to see if the name was still available.

Currently, Centanne and Celusta are waiting on Regional Building permits, but they’re moving forward with what they can. The brewery will have five fermenters, plus a small canning operation and barrel-aging program. While Centanne hasn’t named any specific beers they’ll brew yet, but he and Celusta hope to produce high-quality, properly brewed beers.

“Poor or sub-par quality is something that I feel has plagued a lot of new breweries recently, and not just here in Colorado Springs,” he says. “As new breweries open up, and drinkers are getting introduced to craft, they need solid options or they’re going to think that off flavors are the norm.”

While the brewery hasn’t announced an opening date, beer fans will be able to get their first taste of Metric beer at the Café Craft Coffee & Beer Invitational on Sept. 30 (which, full disclosure, is sponsored by both Focus on the Beer and Indy GIVE!, the Indy’s nonprofit charity arm). They’re brewing a collaborative beer with Loyal Coffee. Meanwhile, check out Focus on the Beer's full interview with Centanne here.

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Broadmoor's Natural Epicurean hosts NE Ramen pop-up

Posted By on Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 11:55 AM

The Asian fruit selection, $11, was a conversation starter. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • The Asian fruit selection, $11, was a conversation starter.
Ramen has been in vogue in major cities for some time, and now it's picking up in the Springs. Spots like The Wobbly Olive have had ramen on the menu, but this year, we've seen the rise of dedicated ramen establishments in Rooster's House of Ramen and Oka Ramen. Now even the Broadmoor's getting in the game with a weekend pop-up at its Natural Epicurean restaurant, dubbed NE Ramen.

Late last week, we were invited to sample several of the menu items as part of a promotional event with a few other media outlets. And for those looking to sample southeast Asian cuisine from a few different traditions, as well as a selection of sake, soju and sake cocktails, it's worth a visit.

In terms of highlights, we dug the deeply savory pork ramen, both for its sturdy noodles and the way the egg yolk transformed the broth from deep dark brown to an almost creamy color.

We also have to talk steamed buns. They're folded like tacos in the style of New York City's renowned Momofuku restaurants, rather than the traditional sealed dim sum bao. They're also pretty sizable and, at two to a plate, filling. We enjoy the grilled soya shiitake mushroom and togarashi blue prawn buns.

For sheer interest, the Asian fruit selection takes the day, becoming the focus of conversation at the table as we navigate tart passionfruit, subtle dragonfruit, tangy yellow kiwi, sweet rambutan, delicate lychee, and others.

Read the full menu here, and the cocktail and drinks menu here. Check out a few pictures from our dinner below. The NE Ramen menu will be offered from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19, Friday and Saturday, Aug. 25 and 26, and from Friday, Sept. 1 through Monday, Sept. 4.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Ritz to close after 30 years in business

Posted By on Wed, Aug 16, 2017 at 11:36 AM

The Ritz Grill will close on Saturday, August 19.
  • The Ritz Grill will close on Saturday, August 19.
After 30 years as a downtown nightlife standard, The Ritz will close its doors for good after service on Saturday, August 19.

“We have been struggling business-wise for the past couple of years, mostly due to the change in the nightclub industry," says Luke Travins, co-owner of The Ritz's parent company Concept Restaurants, which also owns Jose Muldoon's, MacKenzie's Chophouse and Flatiron's American Bar & Grill.

Travins says that The Ritz's success was built on its role as a nightlife destination, drawing its biggest crowds at 9 p.m. and later. Though the business has offered lunch and dinner menus, Travins says “We always were carried by our late night sales."

When asked for details, Travins explains that nightlife spending is down in general, a trend corroborated by both Forbes and CNN. More generally, he cites competition from a downtown shopping district that's expanding both north and south, as well as the rising popularity of craft beer and cocktail options.

“There’s more seats in the market,” he says.

Travins and Concept partner Dave Lux still own the five-story Carlton Building through a separate business venture. Travins says the office spaces on the upper stories are thoroughly leased out, so it's unlikely the building will change hands any time soon. He says they plan on using the ground floor, the current Ritz space, for a restaurant going forward, but declined to provide any further details.

In the mean time, The Ritz's last day in business is Saturday, August 19. While those loyal to the space have planned unofficial farewell events, Travins says there are no official plans to commemorate the restaurant's closing beyond a typical service day.
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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Ranch Foods Direct recalls 1,290 pounds of beef

Posted By on Tue, Aug 8, 2017 at 4:56 PM

A phrase nobody wants to hear. - SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
  • A phrase nobody wants to hear.
On Monday, August 7, Ranch Foods Direct issued a Class I recall for 1,290 pounds of Callcrate beef, citing possible contamination with E. Coli. According to the USDA, a Class I recall is issued for "a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death." E. Coli certainly fits that bill.

"We place food safety as our highest priority," says RFD owner Mike Callicrate of the recall. "I wish we could be perfect, but will continue to do the absolute best job we can in providing healthy local food."

Regarding what might have caused the possible contamination, Callicrate says "[E. Coli] bacteria is common in the environment. Somehow it made its way past our interventions. All we can do is keep working to tighten our procedures. We begin with good care and humane treatment of our livestock and end with clean, low stress on farm processing."

If you purchased the affected products, all packaged on August 3 and 4 and marked with lot code 170731CC, return or dispose of them. Read the full text of the press release below:
CLASS I RECALL
HEALTH RISK: HIGH

Congressional and Public Affairs
Veronika Medina (202) 720-9113

Press@fsis.usda.gov
FSIS-RC-089-2017



GOOD FOOD CONCEPTS, LLC. RECALLS BEEF PRODUCTS

DUE TO POSSIBLE E. COLI O26 CONTAMINATION



WASHINGTON, Aug. 7, 2017 – Good Food Concepts, LLC., a Colorado Springs, Colo. establishment, is recalling approximately 1,290 pounds of raw intact and non-intact beef because the products may be contaminated withE. coli O26, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.


The raw intact and non-intact beef items were processed and packaged on Aug. 3 and Aug. 4, 2017. The following products are subject to recall:


Various weights of individual packages of “CALLICRATE BEEF, Celebrate goodness, Celebrate life, Filet Mignon,” with lot code 170731CC.
Various weights of individual packages of “CALLICRATE BEEF, Celebrate goodness, Celebrate life, Brisket Flat,” with lot code 170731CC.
Various weights of individual packages of “CALLICRATE BEEF, Celebrate goodness, Celebrate life, Sirloin Tip,” with lot code 170731CC.
Various weights of individual packages of “CALLICRATE BEEF, Celebrate goodness, Celebrate life, Ribeye,” with lot code 170731CC.
Various weights of individual packages of “CALLICRATE BEEF, Celebrate goodness, Celebrate life, Stew Meat,” with lot code 170731CC.
Various weights of individual packages of “CALLICRATE BEEF, Celebrate goodness, Celebrate life, New York Strip,” with lot code 170731CC.
Various weights of individual packages of “CALLICRATE BEEF, Celebrate goodness, Celebrate life, Skirt Steak,” with lot code 170731CC.
Various weights of individual packages of “CALLICRATE BEEF, Celebrate goodness, Celebrate life, Top Sirloin,” with lot code 170731CC.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 27316” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail locations, wholesale locations, and restaurants in Colorado Springs, Colorado.


The problem was discovered on Aug. 5, 2017 when plant management at Good Food Concepts, LLC notified FSIS in-plant inspection personnel that they tested a production lot of carcasses they received from the Callicrate Ranch on July 31, 2017. The carcass trimmings from the N60 analysis was positive for E. coli O26 and non-O157.


Many clinical laboratories do not test for non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), such as STEC O26 because it is harder to identify than STEC O157. People can become ill from STECs 2–8 days (average of 3–4 days) after consuming the organism. Most people infected with STEC O26 develop diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. Some illnesses last longer and can be more severe. Infection is usually diagnosed by testing of a stool sample. Vigorous rehydration and other supportive care is the usual treatment; antibiotic treatment is generally not recommended.


Most people recover within a week, but, rarely, some develop a more severe infection. Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is uncommon with STEC O26 infection. HUS can occur in people of any age but is most common in children under 5 years old, older adults and persons with weakened immune systems. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately


FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers' freezers.


Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.


FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify theircustomers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.


Media and consumers with questions regarding the recall can contact Dave Anderson, Operations Manager, at (719) 322-5945.


Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.

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Chef Bob's Lobstah Trap puts north Atlantic lobster first

Posted By on Tue, Aug 8, 2017 at 1:49 PM

Chef Bob's Lobstah Trap is open for business. - BOB DERIAN
  • Bob Derian
  • Chef Bob's Lobstah Trap is open for business.
On the website for his food truck, Chef Bob's Lobstah Trap, chef Bob Derian wishes all comers a wicked pissah day. That's a bit of Bostonian slang meaning excellent, and excellent is exactly what he wants from every lobster he serves up. Derian, a Boston native, buys his crustaceans from US Foods, but he's got very strict sourcing standards.

“I only by lobster that’s from the north Atlantic," he says. "The colder the lobster, the sweeter the meat.” Warm water lobsters, technically a different species, also don't have claws.

Derian opened his truck in late July, doing a lot of business streetside. He's already got a weekly stop at Goat Patch Brewing Company, and he hopes to add more brewery stops before the weather gets cold.

Derian, who's been in the food industry for over 40 years, says he's always wanted to be a chef — his grandmother, an Armenian-Turkish immigrant, instilled a love of cooking in him at a young age. For much of his career, he's worked in research and development for corporate chains like Boston Market, Red Robin and RaceTrac Petroleum. By day, he runs a consulting business.

“About two years ago, I just felt like I was being called back home," Derian says. "My kids are [in Colorado].”

His menu's all about lobster. His most popular item so far is the New England standard lobster roll, though he also sells lobster mac and cheese, lobster quesadillas and lobster "joints," which feature the meat rolled up in whole wheat tortillas. His slaws and sauces are all relatively mild — even a sriracha cream sauce — in order to keep the lobster meat front and center in each dish.

Of note, Derian's prices fluctuate based on the fluctuating market rate for lobster, so he doesn't post them online.
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Monday, August 7, 2017

Seeds Community Café closes due to financial issues

Posted By on Mon, Aug 7, 2017 at 5:41 PM

Farewell, Seeds Community Café. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Farewell, Seeds Community Café.
In surprising news, Seeds Community Café has closed, effective Friday, August 4. A press release, dated August 7 explained that the Seeds board decided to close the four-year-old business after they found the pay-what-you-can charitable eatery and catering business was "not financially sustainable in part due to past financial decisions coupled with lack of donations and customer traffic."

Given a little context, there's a lot to unpack in that sentence. Earlier this year, Seeds founder Lyn Harwell stepped down from his position as executive director. Shortly after, claims of financial mismanagement surfaced from Seeds' leadership. Internal documents released by the board suggest serious financial mismanagement by Harwell.

To briefly recap, for six months Harwell did not pay employees, vendors or taxes. Further, the documents show show he failed to ensure that Seeds had the necessary insurance coverage. Board members also claim Harwell made personal purchases on the café's credit cards and that Seeds accrued $92,000 in debt without the board's knowledge, a total that executive director Jennifer Bostick and Board President Gene Tanski say they paid down by a third between November 2016 and June 2017. For a detailed breakdown on the situation, check out Colorado Springs Business Journal (owned by Indy parent company Colorado Publishing House) managing editor Bryan Grossman's article from June 9 here. Critically, Tanski noted that while Harwell's alleged actions were unprofessional, it's unlikely that there isn't a serious legal issue in play.

Harwell called the claims "inaccurate and unsubstantiated," for his part, but in light of Seeds closing, it's hard not to wrinkle one's nose at the situation as a whole. Further, Seeds' closure and Harwell's implied role may cast a shadow on his new Manitou endeavor, CrEATe Café.

Look for more details on the situation in the near future. For now, we've included the body of the press release below.

After more than three and a half years of impacting Colorado Springs working to solve hunger insecurity, transforming lives through training and education and building a sense of community, Seeds Community Café closed its doors Friday Aug 4 for its last service.

The executive director, Jennifer Bostick and the rest of the board decided that Seeds was not financially sustainable in part due to past financial decisions coupled with lack of donations and customer traffic.

“This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make,” said Bostick. “We have had such a great relationship with the local community, businesses, food growers and producers. Everyone involved with Seeds is dedicated to reducing food insecurity around the world and we believe the best way to impact that is through locally grown initiatives. Our customers, volunteers and donors have truly transformed numerous lives since the inception of Seeds and we are hopeful that someone will pick up the torch in Colorado Springs.”

Seeds leadership is taking steps to wind down current commitments and over the next couple of weeks will work to dissolve the business.

“There are still several avenues for our volunteers to support the local community, and we hope that those who have helped us will continue to take the time to give back,” said Bostick. “Our wonderful customers also were involved in our mission and we hope they will continue to support Colorado Springs by choosing to spend their dollars locally. We would like to thank all of our supporters and diners and appreciate everyone who believed in our mission.”

Seeds proved that one café can positively impact people who are looking to take responsibility for improving their lives. With a small paid staff, Seeds took a volunteer-driven business to serve more than 60,000 meals over the past 3 and a half years.


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Colorado Springs Public Market rebrands, sets August opening

Posted By on Mon, Aug 7, 2017 at 12:19 PM

The Art Deco building is the newest planned spot for the Colorado Springs Public Market. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • The Art Deco building is the newest planned spot for the Colorado Springs Public Market.

Miracles happen. The long-gestating Colorado Springs Public Market — now to be called the Pikes Peak Market apparently — has announced plans to soft-open in the Art Deco building at the corner of Pikes Peak and Weber on August 31, according to the Rocky Mountain Food Report. We've been following the rocky development of this effort for around five years now. In 2014, it was set to occupy the former Gazette building. That fell through. Then, in 2015, the Carter-Payne became the spot of choice — organizers even noted a tentative opening weekend for the spot. That also fell through, and Local Relic took the spot over. Over the year since we last reported on the market, things have been quiet until now. So, needless to say, we're pretty excited to see where this goes. Look for more information in the near future.
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Friday, August 4, 2017

Refill Coffee brings third wave coffee to the east side

Posted By on Fri, Aug 4, 2017 at 3:10 PM

Refill Coffee serves the eastern side of Colorado Springs. - RYAN FAIRCLOTH
  • Ryan Faircloth
  • Refill Coffee serves the eastern side of Colorado Springs.
Refill Coffee, a horse trailer-turned coffee truck that began serving craft coffee in eastern Colorado Springs, is owned by Nora and Ryan Faircloth, a pair whose relationship is grounded in coffee. They met in 2001 while both were employed at Smokey Row Coffee in Pella, Iowa.

"I also worked at the management with Caribou Coffee, so we both have a long history of working with coffee,” notes Nora.

At the time, they discussed how they'd both like to own a café one day, but over the years (and miles) the opportunity to start a brick-and-mortar spot never came up. In January 2017, Nora saw an article on the internet about someone who'd turned a horse trailer into a gin bar, and inspiration struck. The couple bought a trailer and started refurbishing it in late February and opened for business in late June.

Currently, Refill serves Switchback Coffee Roasters beans exclusively, though Nora hopes they'll be able to offer local options in the near future to highlight more of the good coffee being roasted in the Springs. That said, the menu's fairly bare-bones, offering drip coffee and basic espresso drinks. Nora has no intention of serving “froufrou drinks you might find at Starbucks… we want to highlight a good coffee.”

They do offer syrups from Oregon-based Holy Kakow for their drinks, as well as a few non-dairy milk options at no additional charge.

“We’d love the support for a brick-and-mortar location," she says, "but for right now, we’re bopping around town and showing people what can be done out of a horse trailer.”
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Goat Patch Brewing Company opens in Lincoln Center

Posted By on Fri, Aug 4, 2017 at 8:23 AM

Tasting paddles with a strong brand. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Tasting paddles with a strong brand.
Due to the recent closing of Denver-based Southern Concepts Restaurant Group, the barbecue spot in the Lincoln Center will not be a Carve Barbecue location. The space will be occupied by yet-unopened Tailgate BBQ, a kitchen-less concept owned by Warren and Chandler Knop and supplied by Roth Premium Foods.

—ORIGINAL POST 1:31 P.M. TUE., AUG 1, 2017—
Goat Patch Brewing Company
has opened, as of Monday, July 31. Owned by Justin and Jen Grant and Cate and Darren Baze, the Lincoln Center brewery has been on our radar for about a year. Brewer Darren, a veteran of Bristol, Trinity and Colorado Mountain breweries, says it's been "So far, so good."

"People seem to like the beers… we did a bunch of soft openings to dial in the service," he adds. "I think that helped.”

Currently, the brewery offers six beers on tap. Their blonde (which we saw at a recent preview) and red ales are the first of their flagship brews. Baze says he's considering making their session IPA a flagship as well. They're also offering an unfiltered IPA, a porter, and an oddball beer they've dubbed Goat Patch Punch. It's a Belgian-style ale brewed with cherries and orange peels, fermented with a German-style hefeweizen yeast (best known for, when used traditionally, imparting banana and clove notes) and a Belgian saison yeast. We have no clue what to make of this beer, having only heard of it by phone, but we're intrigued, to say the least. It's notable also for being their only named beer.

“Eventually, if we get into packaging we might start naming them," explains Baze. "Everything we think of to name stuff, another beer’s already named that.” Beyond the six available now, Baze says they have a double IPA and a smoked ESB fermenting, set for release sometime early this month.

Currently, customers can take beer home in both 32 ounce crowlers and 64 ounce growlers. During the day, customers will be able to bring in food from the brewery's neighbors in the Lincoln Center. Denver-based, fast casual barbecue spot Carve Barbecue Tailgate BBQ has yet to open in the adjacent space, but once that does, it'll serve as the brewery's evening foodservice spot.

“Until then, we’ll do food trucks in the evening,” says Baze, explaining that he has no intention of introducing competition to the eateries with which the brewery shares the Center. “We want to help out the other businesses in the building.”
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