Food and Drink

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Dos Santos Taqueria de Mexico opens in Colorado Springs

Posted By on Tue, Oct 2, 2018 at 9:53 AM

Dos Santos' Springs location opens on Tuesday, Oct. 2. - CHANDLER KIM
  • Chandler Kim
  • Dos Santos' Springs location opens on Tuesday, Oct. 2.
In January, Denver-based Dos Santos Taqueria de Mexico owner/operator Jason Wallenta announced that he and brother Kris, Dos Santos' owner/chef, would be opening a new location in Colorado Springs, in the former Southside Johnny's next to fellow Denver food expansionists Atomic Cowboy Provisions. Now we have an opening date: Dos Santos Colorado Springs will open today, Tuesday, Oct. 2.

"We’re just excited to open our doors to the public," Jason says, saying that friends-and-family soft openings over the preceding weekend went smoothly.

The Springs location will have a menu largely identical to their Denver spot, though they're adding tuna poke nachos for Springs diners. For beer, they'll have only three taps. One will feature Dos Santos Mexican lager, brewed by Denver's Station 26 Brewing Co. As a local nod, they'll be pouring Goat Patch Brewing Company's It Takes a Tribe red ale, which recently won bronze for Best Scottish-style ale at the Great American Beer Festival. They'll also have a full, tequila-centric bar.

“Arguably, we have the best margaritas in the Springs now," Jason boasts. "Everything is juiced and made fresh daily.”

Bold words, but Springs diners can see if they hold up soon. To celebrate, they'll be offering their taco Tuesday specials — four select tacos for $3 each, $4 Dos Santos lagers and $6 tequila mules. For hours and more info, click here.
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Monday, October 1, 2018

The Archives releases fall menu

Posted By on Mon, Oct 1, 2018 at 2:16 PM

A classic sidecar blends brandy, lemon and orange liqueur; Currier serves it with a sugared rim to mellow the tartness. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • A classic sidecar blends brandy, lemon and orange liqueur; Currier serves it with a sugared rim to mellow the tartness.
Bartender Dylan Currier's new spot, The Archives, has released its fall menu. Keeping in line with the bar's theme, the menu highlights a selection of vintage recipes, more recent classics and originals. 13 drinks are featured, and on Currier's invitation, we sampled each of them.

Starting with traditional drinks, the whiskey sour's mix of bourbon, lemon, sugar and egg white gets shaken into a rich sipper, delicately creamy from the egg white, finished with bitters for aroma and garnish. The sidecar, a mix of brandy, lemon and orange liqueur, lands clean and refreshing, especially thanks to a sugared rim that cuts the tart lemon. Similarly, the negroni's to style, nicely sweet and bitter, with plenty of orange essence that keeps the drink fairly friendly.
The Negroni's a classic, and Currier's gin-Campari-sweet vermouth drink bears stand-out orange zest on the nose. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • The Negroni's a classic, and Currier's gin-Campari-sweet vermouth drink bears stand-out orange zest on the nose.

Currier, it seems, has no fear of putting two-ingredient drinks on the menu, as evidenced by both his gimlet and dark & stormy. The former's a simple combination of gin and house lime cordial, nice and clean with a small lime wedge as garnish being the only deviation from tradition. Currier's also sourced a mighty gingery ginger beer for his dark & stormy, which stands up to dark rum and makes a spirit-and-soda drink seem at home alongside more complex classics.

Moving on to more recent recipes, Currier's Singapore sling sips fruity with a mellow rum flavor, friendly but with complexity from Bénédictine and cherry brandy. A Bonded Vieux Carré, the French name for New Orleans' French Quarter, uses rye and brandy bottled in bond, a particular US government regulation that, among purity and authenticity concerns, requires spirits be bottled at 100 proof. Mixed with sweet vermouth, Bénédictine and bitters, it's a strong, bitter, complex drink. A Blood and Sand combines Monkey Shoulder blended Scotch with sweet vermouth, cherry brandy and orange for a mouth-filling combo of cherry and peat smoke. Last in that category, Archives bartender Luis Rodriguez compares the Adonis to a tootsie pop — three sips, and this luxurious, fruity mix of sherry, sweet vermouth and orange bitters is gone.

The Cimarron's an Archives original, grassy and fresh on the sip with a big sage nose. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • The Cimarron's an Archives original, grassy and fresh on the sip with a big sage nose.
Currier's menu has four originals. His favorite is the Cimarron, Spanish for runaway or wild. It uses sotol, a spirit from Chihuahua, Mexico, similar to tequila, but lighter in flavor. In the Cimarron, it's paired with lime, sugar and blackberries, then finished with a slapped sage leaf for a drink that's fresh and herbaceous, almost grassy and finishing very clean. The brandy-based El Pomar blends brandy and Distillery 291's Decc citrus-clove liqueur for a fruity, crisp sipper with subdued spice notes. The O.N.E.'s a revision of Currier's Old North End, developed at his former digs, Sakura Speakeasy, here made with rye, vermouth, black walnut liqueur and aromatic bitters, an intense, dark drink with big Manhattan vibes. And, lastly, the most challenging drink on the menu's the Witch's Brew, a drink of dark rum, Italian Strega liqueur, Fernet-Branca and sweet vermouth that drinks minty and mouth-filling, with a rounded feel.
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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Happy Hour: Not your college dorm room Green Dragon

  • Dionne Roberts
As we enjoy the latest installment of our fall ReLeaf cannabis guide, our sights are focused on everything green. Once relegated to musky college dorm rooms, the canna-booze concoction known as Green Dragon is making something of a comeback in our modern "craft" era. Early iterations of the mixture called for crappy brick weed mixed with Everclear, and it was pretty disgusting (shocker). But when we set out to find a palatable version of the taboo cocktail last year, we found it's not very difficult to make a dank drink.
Green Dragon is not liquor or strain specific — just weed and some booze of your choosing — so in an attempt to demonstrate that the green dragon doesn't have to resemble or taste like bong water, we opted to try vodka, gin and tequila as our solvents for some homegrown greens.
The vodka really allows the weed to shine, since it doesn't have a lot of flavor of its own. It can easily be used in a Moscow mule that receives a complementary note from the spicy ginger beer. We really dig the tequila, as the earthy harmony from the sweet agave sets off the bitterness from the bud. We made a straightforward margarita with what we nicknamed "the Latin Lizard" — a shot (or two) with a generous amount of fresh-squeezed lime juice and a splash of simple syrup. (One cup water to one cup sugar, heat until sugar dissolves completely.) The gin was a winner too as the flowery botanicals couple up with the cannabis nicely. A classic gin and tonic yields a deeper profile than anything you're used to ordering at your neighborhood watering hole.
Mixing your Green Dragon cocktails is the easy part; it's the weed-to-booze ratio you should focus on to ensure a pleasurable experience (measure twice).

But if you're one to leaving the experimentation to the pros, here's this week's Happy Hour map:
Happy Tails Happy Hours are happening at local breweries throughout the summer and $1 of each beer sold goes right back to the homeless pets at HSPPR. Plus, our popular 2018 collectible pint glasses will be available for $10 each! Join us this summer by drinking a beer for a great paw-se!

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Brooklyn's on Boulder announces fall menu

Posted By on Wed, Sep 26, 2018 at 10:56 AM

Brooklyn's on Boulder has changed up the menu once more, offering a selection of drinks made for Autumn. Recently, they invited the Indy to sample a few of their new offerings, which turned into quite a few samples indeed. Check out the slideshow below for details, and remember: drink responsibly!
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Happy Belly Tacos opens for business

Posted By on Wed, Sep 26, 2018 at 10:33 AM

Happy Belly Tacos is colorful and decorated in a straightforward fashion.. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Happy Belly Tacos is colorful and decorated in a straightforward fashion..
The menu's simple, and Burke plans to keep it pretty consistent year-round. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • The menu's simple, and Burke plans to keep it pretty consistent year-round.
 Belly Tacos has opened for business in the shopping center on the corner of Bijou and Spruce streets. The business is owned by Elevated Carnivore Group, which is the Mark Henry-helmed umbrella company that also owns Rooster's House of Ramen. The kitchen's run by chef Troy Burke, former noodle chef at Rooster's.

We stopped by the spot Tuesday afternoon to sample a few of Burke's signature tacos, and we were impressed overall. Almost everything's available as a taco, tostada or burrito, and the menu also includes sides like borracho beans, rice and elote.

Sticking to a budget, we tried a taco al pastor, a carne asada taco and a calamari taco. The pastor bears great seasonings. Asada chews magically tender. And that calamari's fried in a super-light batter and finished with a flavorful sweet chile sauce. And while we only sample a house red salsa from the salsa bar, it's fresh with tomato and pepper flavors, mildly roasty and delicious.

For info on the spot's hours, check out their Facebook page here.
From left to right: Taco al pastor, carne asada taco, calamari taco. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • From left to right: Taco al pastor, carne asada taco, calamari taco.
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Friday, September 7, 2018

Sakura Speakeasy closes, at least for now

Posted By on Fri, Sep 7, 2018 at 4:10 PM

With Dylan Currier now in charge of The Archives, hidden bar Sakura Speakeasy lacks a head bartender to guide it and, as such, co-owner Sean Fitzgerald has decided to close it — for now.

"We are currently discussing our options of whether to continue with it at its current location or if we should move it to its own location," he says via text. Whatever direction he and wife/co-owner Inez decide to take the Japanese inspired bar, that decision will come only after they've selected a new head bartender to direct the space.

To that end, the Indy has removed Sakura Speakeasy from this year's Best Of Colorado Springs ballot. Though you can still vote for the Fitzgeralds' other establishments, the Wobbly Olive, and The Collective.

The garden geisha, early iteration pictured, blends Tanqueray Rangpur gin with Domaine de Canton, apple juice, fennel syrup, and lemon. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • The garden geisha, early iteration pictured, blends Tanqueray Rangpur gin with Domaine de Canton, apple juice, fennel syrup, and lemon.
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Saturday, September 1, 2018

Atomic Cowboy/Denver Biscuit Company/Fat Sully's imminently opening, set to impress

Posted By on Sat, Sep 1, 2018 at 5:30 PM

The Franklin biscuit sandwich is the best-seller, with buttermilk fried chicken, Tender Belly bacon and cheddar with sausage gravy. The Atomic Bloody Mary is composed of Family Jones Vodka, house mix and Left Hand's milk stout nitro. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The Franklin biscuit sandwich is the best-seller, with buttermilk fried chicken, Tender Belly bacon and cheddar with sausage gravy. The Atomic Bloody Mary is composed of Family Jones Vodka, house mix and Left Hand's milk stout nitro.

Things are about to go Atomic in downtown Colorado Springs — not in the constant nuclear threat NORAD kinda way, to be clear. But in the Atomic Cowboy/Denver Biscuit Company/Fat Sully's kinda way.

As the Indy recently reported, the eatery/drink trifecta (all under one roof) is opening its fifth location in state, in downtown Colorado Springs in the former Southside johnny's location at 528 S. Tejon Street. Doors officially open to the public on Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 8 a.m.

The initial four locations are in Denver. The city's Westword newspaper is fond of the spots, nostalgic even, in a recent write-up; and the overall outfit has been no stranger to TV either.
Based on our limited media preview Friday, Aug. 31, we were pretty impressed by the comfort food items and a couple quality cocktails. See the slideshow below for a tour through items like enormous biscuit sandwiches.

Founder Drew Shader, who shared some backstory with us while we sampled, noted this new location is his biggest, at around 10,000 square feet, which includes a year-round, 2,500-square-foot rooftop deck/patio. He said he'd been searching for the right spot here over the course of three years, as he loves older, historic buildings like this former Trolley Building.

He's outwardly trying to invest in the Springs, not just with partnerships locally with the likes of Loyal Coffee, Lee Spirits Gin and Red Leg Brewing (specifically with whom beer sales will go to the area nonprofit Angels of America's Fallen), but also by investing in his staff. He tells us 18 different managers and staffers opted to make the move to the Springs, some for the reason of wanting to get out of Denver's hustle and bustle. He says he likes to develop people, and so far 180 folks have been hired, with a plan to hit 215 when an ice cream shop called Frozen Gold opens soon on the west side of the complex. (There's more to come, including a Dos Santos expansion from Denver, too.)

Given how many folks he sees in Denver, who drive up for the town's culinary culture, he's confident the Springs is more than ready to embrace his concepts. And again, based on our enjoyment of the comfort-items set before us, we're pretty certain that embrace they will, especially during weekend late-night hours.

Full hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday through Thursday, with New York-style pizza slices (they're awesome) available at Fat Sully’s walk-up window until 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Denver Biscuit Company will serve from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. (3 p.m./weekends), while Atomic Cowboy, the spirits arm, will serve throughout all operating hours.
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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Happy Belly Tacos announces planned opening, pop-up dinner

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 6:34 PM

  • Courtesy Happy Belly Tacos
Mark Henry’s metric for success has changed over his time as owner of Rooster’s House of Ramen. He’s more invested in helping his staff grow and improve as chefs, as servers and as businesspeople, he says. To that end, he’s financially backing former Rooster’s noodle chef Troy Burke and opening Happy Belly Tacos just outside of downtown Springs, currently set to open on Tuesday, Sept. 11. While Henry will own the place, it’s Burke’s baby, and he’s head chef. Burke’s from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and he’s worked with Henry for almost a decade, by Henry’s estimate, going back to The Blue Star.

As a Burqueño, Burke grew up eating an array of Mexican and Southwestern flavors. His menu will feature a few seasonal and other specials, but it’ll mostly stay consistent, anchored on a variety of New Mexican, Mexican and Central and South American offerings.

“I know we want to do an authentic al pastor,” he says. “We’re going to have a spit grill, and we’re going to be carving off the al pastor to order.” They’ll also offer tacos de parrilla, tacos with caramelized cheese on the inside of the tortilla, under the fillings.

Happy Belly’s bar will be managed by Sarah Helfrich, general manager for Elevated Carnivore Group, which is the Henry-helmed umbrella company that owns both Happy Belly and Rooster’s. “We want to do an educated mezcal program,” says Burke. “Most people aren’t really mezcal drinkers or don’t even know what mezcal is.”

So, Burke and crew will stand ready to teach: “I climbed the ladder, busted my ass, and it looks like I get to do something I have my heart in,” he says.

Want a preview? Drop by The Archives between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. on August 31 and September 1 for a late-night pop-up event. Archives owner Dylan Currier and his team will offer specialty tequila cocktails to pair with Burke and crew's tacos.
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Boulder Street Bites food truck gathering launches with block party

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 6:31 PM

  • Courtesy Boulder Street Bites
Piglatin Food Truck and others have staked out the lot at 116 E. Boulder Street in the past, but now, that spot's going to be even more happening. The Piglatin team have partnered with Bob Derian of Chef Bob's Lobstah Truck and the folks at Epicentral Coworking to spearhead a new food truck meeting place, dubbed Boulder Street Bites.

“Think of it like a co-op,” says Aaron Ewton, brand manager for Piglatin Cocina & Food Truck. "We’re all trying to pull our networking resources together to make it more than just a truck sitting in a lot.”

He hopes that, as more food trucks contribute and commit to the space, they'll be able to turn it into a more desirable hangout spot, adding ambience and extending operating hours. After the spot launches on Aug. 31 — click here for details — it'll be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays.

“We would like to expand that to weekends and evenings within the next couple of weeks," says Ewton. When we speak, he says around a dozen trucks have signed on through September and October, with three or four trucks set to serve lunch each day. Check out the Boulder Street Bites Facebook page here for regularly posted schedules.
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Monday, August 27, 2018

Wayfinder Coffee Company in northern Springs plans opening for mid-September

Posted By on Mon, Aug 27, 2018 at 7:35 AM

Wayfinder Coffee Company's owners plan to open their doors in mid-September. - MEGAN LIBBY
  • Megan Libby
  • Wayfinder Coffee Company's owners plan to open their doors in mid-September.
When Anna Summers and her best friend, Megan Libby, decided to at long last start a business together, their first step was to make a list. They wrote down everything they loved in life, and four things that brought them both joy — coffee, pastries, wine and cheese — formed the foundations of Wayfinder Coffee Company.

“We love coffee shops," says Summers. "We love the atmosphere. And we love the coffee.”

Summers says she worked in restaurants through her twenties, but most recently, she was a manager at a travel agency. Libby, on the other hand, describes herself as a "serial entrepreneur," raised by small businesspeople — she adds that she previously owned a delivery restaurant in Denver. They chose the name Wayfinder in the hope that their coffee shop would embody both definitions of the word: a landmark for bringing community together, and a guide to the global nature of food and coffee.

Currently, they're working with a few importers to source a range of coffees — while they prefer extra-dark Italian roasts for espresso, they intend to roast a range of lighter beans with flavor profiles for all comers. As they're both avid home bakers, they'll be producing their pastries in-house, including cupcakes and more, perfect for customers to enjoy on their sizable deck space.

“One thing that we’re really excited and proud of is that we’ll be making our own croissants in house," says Libby, teasing a variety of house-made fillings. On the savory side, they'll be offering small plates — think tapas, charcuterie and cheese boards, made to pair with a selection of wines and beers. For booze, they hope to offer a few old-world wines and global beers alongside beloved local options.

They plan to soft-open the café and roastery in northeastern Springs in mid-September, with a grand opening to follow a week later.
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Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Archives promises classic drinks in a subdued atmosphere

Posted By on Sun, Aug 26, 2018 at 7:00 AM

The Archives is accessible from Colorado Craft or a door in the nearby alleway. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • The Archives is accessible from Colorado Craft or a door in the nearby alleway.
Dylan Currier, formerly of Cowboy Star and Sakura Speakeasy, now owns his own bar. Located downstairs from Colorado Craft, The Archives soft-opened on Saturday, Aug. 25 by reservation only. And from the decor to the drinks menu, the spot’s focused on honoring the past.

Though Currier’s wanted his own place for some time, he says this opportunity fell into his lap. He was contacted by Colorado Craft co-owner Bryan Bradigan, who offered him the spot earlier this year.

Currier plans to pull archival photos from all throughout the Springs’ history to decorate the walls. And the cocktail menu’s divided among classics, modern classics like the paper plane and original cocktails — Currier says that while it’s great every bartender worth their salt has a play on a daiquiri or old fashioned, it can be hard to find a to-specifications preparation of the original in town.

“We really want to be that late-night downtown cocktail bar for people who want to get away from the noise,” says Currier — the spot will be open until 2 a.m., Tuesday through Saturday, with an alleyway door providing access after Colorado Craft closes.

He’s also sourcing various amaros from the mid-20th century, such as a vintage ‘70s fernet and hard-to-find Amaro 18 Isolabella, both higher-dollar options for fancy nights out or amaro nerds. There will also be an appetizer menu provided by Colorado Craft, as well as a range of beer and wine. By winter, Currier hopes to have a different appetizer menu than what’s offered upstairs, and he’ll be working in seasonal cocktail and punch bowl specials.
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Friday, August 17, 2018

Manitou French Pastries showins intersection of cuisine and science

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 8:00 AM

One of Manitou French Pastry's most popular offerings are their macarons. - NICHOLAS ADKINS
  • Nicholas Adkins
  • One of Manitou French Pastry's most popular offerings are their macarons.
Nicholas Adkins, owner/sole operator of Manitou Springs-based Manitou French Pastries, took a little time to figure out his true calling. The West Virginia native spent seven years as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, working in molecular medicine. When his wife moved to the Springs for a job, Adkins expected to be able to find work either as a professor or in the research industry. He stalled out in his search and decided that wasn’t where his passion lay anyway. He’s since studied cuisine — mostly French — completing a four-month intensive program at Cook Street School of Culinary Arts in Denver and spending a year studying at the Gastronomicom culinary academy in Agde, France. He’s found that his lab-refined sense of precision and adherence to protocol have made him a fine cook and especially adept with pastry.

“It’s funny the similarities, though,” he says. And there’s another chance connection: his research organism of choice was yeast. He’s intimately familiar with the life cycle of yeast and how to make it do what he wants it to do. With as finicky as pastry can be, to say nothing of how Colorado's high altitude complicates things, that’s a major asset.

And so far, it’s been paying promising dividends — after opening for business on July 20, he says he’s already having to hire an employee to help him keep up with his customer base, and he already has regulars. So far, his top sellers are either his croissants or his macarons, he says.

As much as pastry and baking bring him joy, in a few years, he hopes to open a café and bistro to allow him to share his love of savory cooking as well.
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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

In-N-Out Burger in Colorado Springs still a couple of years out

Posted By on Tue, Aug 14, 2018 at 11:55 AM

Good, cheap burgers, coming to Colorado with a double helping of hype in a couple of years. - COURTESY SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • Courtesy
  • Good, cheap burgers, coming to Colorado with a double helping of hype in a couple of years.
The devotee of west coast burger chain In-N-Out Burger will have to wait a little longer to get their 3x3 animal style burgers with fries well done. According to an email we've received from Denny Warnick, the California-based company's VP of Operations, the previously announced distribution facility and office building in northern Springs, plus the state's first In-N-Out restaurants, are still a few years out.

Here's what Warnick sent us:
The planning and design work continues to move forward for our facilities and restaurant in Colorado Springs. The city of Colorado Springs has been a great partner on the project.

It is great to be able to report progress being made, although we are still likely a couple of years away from serving our first Double-Double in Colorado. We are very much looking forward to that day, and we appreciate our customers in Colorado that have shared their anticipation with us as well.
So that's where we are. The chain's devotees have more time to study the secret scripture menu, and its myriad detractors can continue to talk about how burgers that are roughly twice as expensive are better. We might also suggest patronizing a local option, at least for now.
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Friday, August 10, 2018

Basil & Barley Pizzeria Napoletana announces grand opening party

Posted By on Fri, Aug 10, 2018 at 11:17 AM

  • Courtesy Basil & Barley
On Saturday, August 25, Roberto Calcagno's Basil & Barley Pizzeria Napoletana will open, marking the end of over six months of build-out in the Briargate-area spot. To celebrate, Calcagno and his team will be holding a party with food, drinks and live music from bands like Denver's False Report. A ticket, $20, will include unlimited pizza and dessert, plus one drink. The event starts at 5 p.m.

“I want to be very involved in our community," says Calcagno, who co-owns the restaurant with his father, Sandro. "I’m going to devote 20 percent of that profit [from the opening event] to a veteran charity based here in Colorado Springs, and it is called 'The Home Front Cares.'” He adds that the restaurant will open for normal hours the following day, Aug. 26.
Location Details Basil & Barley Pizzeria Napoletana
9278 Forest Bluffs View
Colorado Springs, CO
On opening, Basil & Barley will offer a selection of pizzas and other signature offerings. Calcagno has formulated a few crust choices that diverge somewhat from the traditional Neapolitan style he espouses — we're particularly excited about a sprouted buckwheat crust and a hempseed crust. For desserts, they'll be offering cannolis in house-baked shells, panna cotta, a tiramisu he says is nothing like a "coffee sponge cake," and baba au rhum, to name a few. Baba au rhum, he explains, is a yeasted cake soaked with a rum syrup.

“I’m especially proud of our charcuterie and cheese selection,” he says. “All our charcuterie is from italy... anybody tastes them, they’re going to be amazed at the quality of this prosciutto, for example, or the bresaola or speck.” The menu, he adds, will also feature a short history of each meat, baking education into each meal.

For beverages, he's curated a selection of Italian wines and built a traditional Italian cocktail menu. Expect also a variety of beers, Calcagno's preferred pairing with pizza, both local and imported from Italy. He's teamed up with Dueces Wild Brewery for a signature house beer, brewed with basil.
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