Thursday, June 28, 2018

Independent's Day is way more fun than a fireworks-less Independence Day

Posted By on Thu, Jun 28, 2018 at 1:00 AM

Independent’s Day IPA Release Party, June 29, 4-11 p.m., Cerberus Brewing Company, facebook.com/cerberusbrewingco. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Independent’s Day IPA Release Party, June 29, 4-11 p.m., Cerberus Brewing Company, facebook.com/cerberusbrewingco.
Though not as old or widely celebrated as our nation’s upcoming Independence Day, and sadly boasting fewer fireworks, Independent’s Day is way more fun. The Independent’s Day IPA, a collaborative brew between the Colorado Springs Independent (that’s us) and award-winning brewery and restaurant Cerberus Brewing Company, celebrated its inaugural release last year. Now it’s back on tap, though we can’t guarantee for how long; last year, every drop of this brew sold out in two weeks flat. Publisher Carrie Simison, Editor Matthew Schniper and Publisher’s Assistant Riley Bratzler joined Cerberus brewers Josh Adamski and Taylor Donner to put together this English malt IPA, which uses seven different hops to bitter the brew. Tonight, celebrate Independent’s Day at the release party, and remember that $1 of every beer you buy will benefit the Trails and Open Space Coalition and Bike Colorado Springs.
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The Buffalo Lodge Local Market and Community Cookout is more than your average farmers market

Posted By on Thu, Jun 28, 2018 at 1:00 AM

Buffalo Lodge Local Market and Community Cookout, June 29, 4-8 p.m., Buffalo Lodge Bicycle Resort, facebook.com/BuffaloLodgeBicycleResort. - COURTESY BUFFALO LODGE BICYCLE RESORT
  • Courtesy Buffalo Lodge Bicycle Resort
  • Buffalo Lodge Local Market and Community Cookout, June 29, 4-8 p.m., Buffalo Lodge Bicycle Resort, facebook.com/BuffaloLodgeBicycleResort.
Farmers markets aren’t just where folks who want locally sourced veggies, meats and the like go to get their shopping done — though that’s an obvious benefit. At their best, farmers markets are also community gathering spaces, where people can connect with local vendors and businesses, as well as with neighbors. The Buffalo Lodge Local Market, organized by the folks behind the Acacia Park Farmers Market and hosted by Buffalo Lodge Bicycle Resort, offers locally sourced food and gifts, plus a warm sense of community and some live local music. Check out vendors like Kite Ice Cream, Sweet Addict Bakery, The Sourdough Boulangerie and more, with live music by The Mitguards tonight. Check back Fridays through Sept. 7 for more vendors, more music and more chances to sit back and enjoy summer with your community. 
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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Gather Food Studio offers hands-on cooking classes in Old Colorado City

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2018 at 12:47 PM

MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
Fans of now-defunct culinary retail spot/teaching kitchen Cook's Marketplace should get excited: Cortney Smith has opened a new space for hands-on cooking classes. It's called Gather Food Studio, it's in Old Colorado City, and it's a partnership between her and former Wobbly Olive chef David Cook.

Smith has over a decade of experience in the food biz. She worked in merchandizing and recipe development for Springs-based cookware retailer CHEFS Catalog, starting in 2007. The company was purchased by Target Corporation in 2013 and ultimately shut down in 2015. Cook's Marketplace was a spiritual successor, a cookware retail space set in the former CHEFS Catalog warehouse which added on-site, hands-on cooking classes. That's how she met Cook — he began teaching classes there in 2016.

“We started thinking about [opening Gather] when we knew we were closing Cook’s Marketplace," says Smith. "The cooking classes were so successful, it was just the retail part that wasn’t working.”

After minimal renovation, their new space opened for business on Tuesday, June 26. Formerly a tattoo parlor, Gather now hosts a warm, intimate teaching kitchen, perfect for small-group, hands-on classes. Currently, the couple's class offerings range from basics to themed classes, as well as field trips to area farmers markets and other foodie events. Smith will regularly teach allergen-sensitive cooking classes, and the couple also offers one-on-one classes.

“We focus more on building community and getting people actually cooking in their own kitchen instead of demonstration-style classes where they might not go home and cook,” says Smith.

Recently, Indy editor Matthew Schniper attended a preview event at Gather — check out a slideshow of his photos below.
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Friday, June 15, 2018

Cerberus Brewing & Indy team up again for Independent's Day IPA

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 10:30 AM

Staff from the Colorado Springs Independent joined Cerberus Brewing Co.'s brewers Josh Adamski and Taylor Donner in their facility Friday, June 15, to brew the 2nd annual Independent's Day IPA.

Some proceeds from the beer's sale (as well as a limited number of special-release t-shirts) will go toward Bike Colorado Springs and the Trails and Open Space Coalition (on whose board Indy publisher Carrie Simison sits).
MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
The beer releases June 29 at 4 p.m. in Cerberus' taproom, to be followed by a July 5 tapping at Brewer's Republic.

It's brewed predominantly with crisp Maris Otter malt, as well as Cara Malt, both from England, though a symbolic amount of American Carapils malt is also thrown in. Cerberus chose London Ale III yeast for the IPA as well, described as citrus-forward and fruity by Adamski. To bitter the brew, seven different hops were chosen, including Cascade hops, which Adamski says he's only used at Cerberus for this beer.

"It's going old school," he says. "It's not a hazy beer, not a hop bomb," despite the wide array of hops utilized; it'll weigh in at 75 IBUs. He adds that not a lot of U.S. breweries brew primarily British malted beers anymore.

Last year's Independent's Day IPA sold out in just under two weeks, so don't snooze if you want to get a pint.

"Collaborations are fun," Adamski says. "It doesn't feel like a work day when you guys are here having a good time."
MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Left Hand Brewing Company releases seasonal beer to promote Bike MS

Posted By on Tue, Jun 12, 2018 at 10:00 AM

Left Hand's Wheels Gose Round is available as of June 9 and will be on liquor store shelves soon. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Left Hand's Wheels Gose Round is available as of June 9 and will be on liquor store shelves soon.
Many of us at the Indy love beer — it is, in fact, my stated policy to review any booze that shows up in my mailbox — but this one's particularly nice. Left Hand Brewing Company of Longmont, Colorado is taking part in Bike MS, a charity event that helps fund the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

"Since 2008 we’ve raised over $3 MILLION for the National MS Society (NMSS) through our Bike MS team, Team Left Hand Brewing," says Left Hand sales rep Linda Price, via e-mail. "We want to help the National MS Society fund research, advocate for change, and help people with MS and their families lead powerful lives. We believe in the work they do and that is why we are a part of it."

To that end, they've released Wheel Gose Round, a lemon-raspberry gose, to promote the brewery's fundraising efforts. It's a bright ruddy-pink brew with light pink foam. The nose bears a little salt and a lot of sour fruit, especially the raspberry. That said, it sips only mildly sour, with a hint of saltiness and a non-overwhelming fruit presence, more lemon than raspberry. At 4.4 percent ABV, it goes down easy and summer-friendly. A coworker suggests adding tequila for a margarita-like drink, as they've done with other goses, but we don't have any kicking around the office and must pass, sadly.

Price says that, due to various legal restrictions on fundraising, no proceeds from cans of Wheel Gose Round will benefit NMSS. However, they are hosting a tap takeover at Pub Dog on Tuesday, June 12, and a dollar from every Left Hand pint sold there will go to NMSS. Click here for more on that. Beyond that, cans of Wheels Gose Round have been released and will soon appear on local liquor store shelves.
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Monday, June 11, 2018

Celebrating World Meat Free Day(s) in the Springs is easier than you may think

Posted By , and on Mon, Jun 11, 2018 at 10:45 AM

Santana's Vegan Grill's Beyond Burger patty is spot on textutally. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Santana's Vegan Grill's Beyond Burger patty is spot on textutally.
As an admitted pork-aholic, I'm not at a point in my live where I can commit to the entire World Meat Free Week (June 11 through 17) just yet. But I can definitely set my carnivorous cravings aside for a day or two.

We've heard plenty about the scary side of large scale livestock operations, and what we could be doing instead, but that's not always enough to sway eaters set in their dietary ways. Flavor may be the best bet in persuading palates to a more (or solely) plant-based diet, and these local spots are proving that point. 

Ola Juice Bar

Left to right: Ola's Green Jolt wheatgrass shot, Mango Goji Fire, and the best-selling Thai Avocado Medjool. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Left to right: Ola's Green Jolt wheatgrass shot, Mango Goji Fire, and the best-selling Thai Avocado Medjool.
In previous write-ups for this now 5-year-old nutrition-centric spot, we talked up Ola Juice Bar’s bright juices, breakfasts and build-your-own bowls. For this August 2017 review, we focused our attention on smoothies. And 'tis the season once again.

We often wonder why folks go out and pay for something easily made at home. Answer: Spots like Ola offer inspiration, blending fun combos with ingredients rare in non-health-nuts’ kitchens.
Location Details Ola Juice Bar
27 E. Kiowa St.
Downtown
Colorado Springs, CO
633-3111
Juice bar and Café/Sandwich

Santana’s Vegan Grill

Our first thought after visiting Santana's Vegan Grill (pictured above) in February: This place  might just create more conscious eaters in the Springs, offering a plant-based fast food burger that does a hell of a job replacing the real thing. That’s mostly thanks to a Beyond Burger patty — tagline: “looks, cooks and tastes like a fresh beef burger ... without so many of the health, environmental, and animal welfare downsides of traditional animal-based meat.”

It’s pea protein that “bleeds beet blood,” with 20 grams of protein per serving. Texturally, it’s spot-on.
Location Details Santana's Vegan Grill
3220 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Central
Colorado Springs, CO
271-9113
Drive-ins

Moxie

Call if “faux-lafel” or just call it a delicious meal. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Call if “faux-lafel” or just call it a delicious meal.
When our food editor went out for this January 2018 review, he never pictured Eighth Street as vegan row, but with Moxie joining the Burrowing Owl, plant-based eaters (and omnivores) now have both a neighborhood-bar and quasi-fine dining/bistro option within a mile.

Moxie, occupying the former Estela’s Mexican spot, comes courtesy Nissa and Mike Buth, Ola Juice Bar’s owners. The couple’s done what they can under low ceilings to sharpen the space, a mix of white-washed brick with spare accent walls and warm, dim lighting built around a central open bar. More importantly, they’ve hired experienced hands, from Principal’s Office/Rabbit Hole alum Katie Toth, bar manager, to former Blue Star sous chef Ruthie Poole, chef.
In the end, you won’t think you were deprived or forced to abstain from anything. You’ll still be relishing in full flavors that land plenty gourmet. Perhaps the best compliment to pay good vegan fare is to say it never showed its cards; the vegan-ness is an afterthought.
Location Details Moxie
925 S. Eighth St.
Cheyenne Mountain
Colorado Springs, CO
465-3595
Juice bar

The Burrowing Owl

Order a Relentless Balter if you're up for a challenge. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Order a Relentless Balter if you're up for a challenge.
We stopped by The Burrowing Owl for cocktail in April 2018. While Indy critic Griffin Swartzell is a fan of challenging drinks, the Relentless Balter bowled him over with brutal tartness and underlying bitterness courtesy of balsamic syrup, made all the more powerful by lime and Cimarron tequila. Give the ice ball in this drink a nice, long time to melt before sipping.
Location Details The Burrowing Owl
1791 S. Eighth St., #148
Cheyenne Mountain
Colorado Springs, Colorado
434-3864
Café/Sandwich and Bar/Club
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Friday, June 8, 2018

Remembering Anthony Bourdain and his classic 2000 Indy interview

Posted By on Fri, Jun 8, 2018 at 12:59 PM

SHITTERSTOCK.COM
  • Shitterstock.com
On Friday, June 8, the culinary world and its admirers woke to the loss of one of the industry's most notable figures. Anthony Bourdain, 61, was found unresponsive in his hotel room, CNN confirmed Friday, the cause of death was reported to be suicide. Bourdain was in France working on an episode of his television series Parts Unknown at the time.

Well before his cable network fame, Bourdain steadily built a loyal fanbase of industry professionals and foodies "in the know" with his brash, unfiltered and often explicit takes on the restaurant industry and lives of those working in it. My first introduction to Bourdain came courtesy of my older brother, Thomas, a chef, when he gifted me Bourdain's New York Times best-selling book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.
I was in high school at the time, anxiously contemplating what it was I was going to do with the rest of my life, and following in my brother's footsteps was high on my list of possibilities, as it is for any little bro. When he gave me the book, a paperback all creased and worn with an illegible personal note scribbled inside the front cover from owners past, Thomas told me "read this if you want to know [what being a chef] is like. This is as real as it gets."

In short, Kitchen Confidential changed my life. Bourdain talked me out of pursuing a life as a professional chef while gifting me insight into my mysterious older brother's life I wouldn't have had otherwise — the trials and tribulations, and the seedy and scandalous sides of fine dining and kitchen culture. Most importantly, though, I learned that being a cook doesn't come down to the kitchen you're in or the school you went to, it's about a passion for food. I carry that thought with me to this day, practicing age-old family recipes and experimenting with new ones in my garden level home kitchen.

Bourdain's passion led him to international fame, publishing multiple books, Emmy award-wining television series, and a graphic novel titled Get Jiro, illustrated by local artist Langdon Foss. (The Indy spoke with Bourdain again in 2012 about the graphic novel.)
But I will never forget pre-cable Bourdain, full of "fucks" and evoking the smell of cigarette smoke and images of stained kitchen towels with his unfiltered style. So when I put his name through the Indy archive and found this 2000 interview, I couldn't help but to smile and hear that familiar voice reading back to me.

Here's John Broening's short conversation with Bourdain, titled "Pistol-whipping Mother Teresa," in full:

For a chef who, by his own account, snorted coke through uncooked penne, threatened a sluggish line cook with disfigurement, and who encourages the gadget-savvy amateur to "make Emeril your bitch," Anthony Bourdain is disappointingly sane and even-handed in conversation.

Given the opportunity to slag any number of big names in the food world, he says judicious and evenhanded things. But about Emeril Lagasse, television's best-loved cooking personality, he admits: "I get a rash every time I look at him. ... People want me to say bad things about him ... it's kind of like kicking Barney in the privates or pistol-whipping Mother Teresa."

When asked if there is any precedent for his book within the industry, he scoffs.

"I hope not!" he laughs. "Not that I'm comparing myself to Orwell, but I hope to give the reader the same sense of recognition and a few sad laughs that you get from reading Down and Out in Paris and London," he says, referring to Orwell's classic account of his stint as a dishwasher in a Paris restaurant.

About his own place among the big names, Bourdain is modest. "At this point in my career, I know I'm not going to be on culinary Olympus or breaking any new culinary trends ... the satisfaction in my job comes from running a busy kitchen and doing it quickly, cleanly and profitably for my masters ... and from what I call the Lee Marvin Syndrome. ... I see myself as the pirate leader of a band of people who, outside the kitchen, are uncontrollable, potentially dangerous and dysfunctional. It's extremely satisfying to get them to show up on time, perform at a high level and take pleasure in their work."

Bourdain mentions with pride that he recently recruited a cook out of a Texas prison.

A famous survey put the average life expectancy of a chef at 55. Given that Bourdain is well over 40, does he contemplate the end of his career?

"They say you never see young pigeons or old chefs. ... I'll tell you what I won't be doing: I won't be giving up smoking (he has a three-pack-a-day habit) and I won't be leaving cooking. I'm going to beat the odds."
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Feast of Saint Arnold returns for another year of food, fun, and beer for a cause

Posted By on Fri, Jun 8, 2018 at 1:00 AM

Feast of Saint Arnold, June 9, noon to 4:30 p.m., Chapel of Our Savior Episcopal Parish in The Broadmoor, feastofsaintarnold.com.
  • Feast of Saint Arnold, June 9, noon to 4:30 p.m., Chapel of Our Savior Episcopal Parish in The Broadmoor, feastofsaintarnold.com.
Voted second place in our annual Best Of for “brewery/beer event,” the Feast of Saint Arnold is one of those annual events the community tends to rally around. Not only is it a fun festival, with about 40 local and regional vendors of beer, wines and spirits; but it serves double duty by fundraising for Westside CARES, which provides a food pantry, community dinners and more to area families in need. In the spirit of Saint Arnold, the patron saint of hop-pickers and brewers, attendees will find plenty of beer, but there will also be a kids’ zone for families, guided tours of the impressive Chapel of Our Savior, some good local food to offset the booze, and live music by The Mitguards, Joe Uveges and The Bus Band, and Lazer and Levi. Kids and designated drivers get in free, so go have some fun with the family, get your picture taken with the saint himself, and drink up.
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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Marlee Rae's Killer Eats breaks down its slider-centric menu

Posted By on Thu, Jun 7, 2018 at 10:33 AM

Earlier this week, while we talked about how their food truck came to be, Marlee Rae's Killer Food owners Tiffany and Chris Countryman invited us out to check out their menu, gratis. So to be clear, this is a preview, not a review.
Chris, whose kitchen experience goes back to when he was 15, designs everything on the menu, and aside from the buns, everything's made in house. That means they can get a coarser grind on those 80/20 brisket/short rib/sirloin patties that appear on four of their five sliders — the intent is a patty with a more steak-like chew. He also makes their veg option black bean patties, which we didn't sample, using quick-cooking oats instead of bread crumbs for a binding option that adds a little more texture. Their sliders come with bagged chips or a house-made side — we came on street corn mac & cheese day.

The truck's sauces are homemade as well. Tiffany noted that their beer cheese is made from beer from whatever brewery they're at (or, if they're not at a brewery, usually Rocky Mountain Brewery's Brunette). But they also make their own ketchup, using fresh grape tomatoes instead of more typical canned tomatoes. It has a little texture, and the grape tomatoes' freshness reads besides. Further, the sweet whiskey glaze for their whiskey barrel slider is made with Jameson, and Chris hopes to bottle and sell it somewhere down the line.

For more on what we sampled, check out the slideshow below. You can find Marlee Rae's schedule here.
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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Smørbrød holds press preview, opens in Lincoln Center

Posted By on Wed, Jun 6, 2018 at 3:53 PM

Scandinavian/Nordic restaurant Smørbrød is now open in the Lincoln Center. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Scandinavian/Nordic restaurant Smørbrød is now open in the Lincoln Center.
TAPAteria/Pizzeria Rustica owner Jay Gust's new Nordic digs, Smørbrød, will soon open in the Lincoln Center. On June 6 and 7, they'll have reservation-only seating, before a general opening on Friday, June 8.

Recently, Gust and his team invited a few Indy staffers to take part in a press preview dinner, sampling a selection of his offerings. We were thoroughly pleased with what was on display, from the smørbrøda to the desserts to house aquavit infusions and more. We'll of course do a full, formal review later.

Our only regret: We lacked the foresight to photograph our favorite dish of the evening, a rich and fantastic seafood stew flavored with curry. During the dinner, Gust noted that friends and industry members polished off every drop they'd made for a family-and-friends preview night some days before — yes, in the dead of summer.

Check out the rest of our photos and notes on what we sampled below, in advance of the opening. Skål!
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Colorado Springs farmers markets 2018

Posted By on Wed, Jun 6, 2018 at 8:36 AM

Honey on display at the Western Museum of Mining & Industry market. - WESTERN MUSEUM OF MINING & INDUSTRY
  • Western Museum of Mining & Industry
  • Honey on display at the Western Museum of Mining & Industry market.

As summertime approaches, farmers market season is upon us. With some markets already under way — most beginning in June — it's time to get out and explore the Springs' local vendors.

Here's a list of area farmers markets, with known times and locations, in order of day of the week. If we've missed one let us know in the comments section!:

Wednesdays

Briargate Farmers Market

7610 N. Union Blvd., 9AM - 3PM, May 23 - Oct. 10

Fountain Community Market

116 S. Main St., 11:30AM - 6:30PM, May 30 - August 29

Colorado Farm and Art Market

Rebecca Cornell of Luna Lucerna at Colorado Farm and Art Market's Cottonwood Market. - TYLER GRIMES
  • Tyler Grimes
  • Rebecca Cornell of Luna Lucerna at Colorado Farm and Art Market's Cottonwood Market.

Pioneers Museum, 215 S. Tejon St., 3 - 7PM, June 13- October 10

Western Museum of Mining & Industry

225 North Gate Blvd., (Mondays and Wednesdays) 10AM - 5PM, July 1 - October

Thursdays

Memorial Park Market

1605 E. Pikes Peak Ave., Thursdays 7AM - 1PM

Banning Lewis Ranch

6885 Vista Del Pico Blvd., 3 - 7PM, June 7 - September 13

Acacia Park Community Market

ACACIA PARK COMMUNITY MARKET
  • Acacia Park Community Market

115 E. Platte Ave.,
10AM - 4PM, June 29 - August 9


Manitou Community Market

Soda Springs Park, 42 Park Ave., 3 - 7PM, June 21 - October 4

Fridays

Woodland Park Market

WOODLAND PARK MARKET
  • Woodland Park Market
361 U.S. Hwy. 24, 8AM - 1PM, June 8 - September 28

Buffalo Bicycle Lodge

2 El Paso Blvd., 4 - 8PM, June 8 - September 7

Weekends

Colorado Farm and Art Market

COLORADO FARM AND ART MARKET
  • Colorado Farm and Art Market
Margarita at Pine Creek, 7350 Pine Creek Rd., Saturdays 9AM - 1PM, June 16 - October 13

Old Colorado City Farmers Market

W. Colorado Ave. & 24th St., Saturdays 7AM - 1:30PM, June 9 - October 20

Monument Hill Farmers Market

66 S. Jefferson St., Saturdays 9AM - 1PM, May 26 - October 13

Chapel Hills Mall

1710 Briargate Blvd., Saturdays 10AM - 3PM, June 3 - October 28

The Promenade Shops at Briargate Market

The Promenade Shops at Briargate Market - JOAN MAXWELL
  • Joan Maxwell
  • The Promenade Shops at Briargate Market
1885 Briargate Parkway, Saturdays 9AM - 1PM, June 9 - September 29

Cordera

11894 Grandlawn Circle, Sundays 10AM - 3PM, June 3 - September 16
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Monday, June 4, 2018

Krabby's Seafood Joint opens off Star Ranch Road

Posted By on Mon, Jun 4, 2018 at 4:54 PM

Krabby's Seafood Joint opened around a month ago, specializing in Cajun seafood boils, but also serving Po Boys, lobster rolls and the like.
Happily make a mess with a Cajun seafood boil. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Happily make a mess with a Cajun seafood boil.
The format for the boil: pick your seafood item (like head-on shrimp, snow crab, lobster), then one of three sauces (unless you just want it steamed), then a spiciness level, and lastly, add ons like potato, corn and sausage. Everything arrives double-plastic bagged, with a side metal bucket for shells and scraps. Wear a plastic bib and gloves if you wish. 
Location Details Krabby's Seafood Joint
669 Star Ranch Road
Cheyenne Mountain
Colorado Springs, CO
313-9472
Seafood

Look for a full liquor license, including house cocktails and local craft beers, and starters like  seafood chowders or pork belly french fries. And keep an eye out for our full review soon.
Co-owner Lucky Xayavong (left) and shift lead David Valdez, below Krabby's daily seafood menu. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Co-owner Lucky Xayavong (left) and shift lead David Valdez, below Krabby's daily seafood menu.
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Friday, June 1, 2018

Little Piazza Food Truck serves Italian eats against all odds

Posted By on Fri, Jun 1, 2018 at 9:23 AM

Bill Matney's lasagna sandwich is a top seller. - COURTESY LITTLE PIAZZA FOOD TRUCK
  • Courtesy Little Piazza Food Truck
  • Bill Matney's lasagna sandwich is a top seller.
After a soft opening on Tuesday, May 15, Bill Matney's Little Piazza Food Truck is open for business (see Facebook page for locations). Well, it's Matney and wife Tammy's truck, he's quick to note, but he's the chief operator, as she runs her own business. He's been a chef for almost 30 years now. Locals may remember him from Piazza’s Italian Restaurant of Carefree Circle and Oro Blanco Drive, which shut down some 15 or 20 years ago. Others, from his tenure at the Margarita at Pine Creek, or from the now-defunct Bunz Bakery & Burger Bar. But it's the neighborhood focus of Piazza's Italian that he's trying to channel in this new truck.

To open, he's overcome no small measure of diversity. He bought the truck in late 2017 and was set to open in January. But while on his way to pick up groceries for his soft opening, his car was t-boned, and he was severely injured. Five months later, he was given medical clearance to get back to work, and he wasted no time in reopening the truck.

“It’s incredible, especially when I was only given a five percent chance of surviving to begin with," he says.

The vast majority of his menu is made from scratch, fresh as possible, with only his bread and sausages as exceptions. He sources bread from locals Delicias Bakery, and his sausage comes from Palmer Lake-based Sara Sausage. So far, the best-seller on the menu is his lasagna sandwich. It's a day-old piece of lasagna, set between garlic focaccia and pressed panini-style into something like a grilled cheese sandwich (or a melt, for the hair-splitters). He serves it with raspberry preserves. 
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