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Favorite Places


    Best Of 2015: Deli

    Wholesome flair and well-priced eats make it worth the walk to this locally owned deli, residing in the outer Colorado College solar system on North Tejon Street. Wooglin's offers homemade taste that comforts its fair share of homesick students, but also staff and faculty. It's also a great little lunch spot for the corporate set, with standouts such as $6.99 half-pound burgers with crisp, house-made chips; loaded cold sandwiches; daily quiches; and thick slices of creamy cheesecake. With all these goodies, the walk there and back really isn't such a bad idea. — Bridgett Harris


    Best Of 2015: Store for Accessories

    Best Of 2015: Store for Women's Fashions

    Many years ago, I told my husband if he ever wants to buy me a gift, all he needs to do is go to Terra Verde. It doesn't take much to hit a winner here, whether a super-soft scarf or a stylish hat or a piece of fashionable clothing or jewelry. I'd be happy to add pretty much anything from their collection to my closet, and have felt that way for the entire 23 years they've been open downtown. Side note: I shop here a lot because I know my friends feel the same way. — Kirsten Akens


    Best Of 2014: Garden Supply/Nursery

    No doubt Rick's impresses its fans by being a year-round, full-service lawn and garden emporium, offering Colorado-grown trees; lawn and garden equipment rentals; and tools, sprinklers, planters and a private-label fertilizer that folks swear by. ("It's one of those things that's made us unique all these years," says co-owner Mike Estes.) You can also find indoor gardening supplies, including hydroponic gear; seasonal flowers, annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs ("it's crazy how many plants we carry here"); a vast seed collection, including non-GMO seeds; and a seasonal Christmas shop with fresh-cut as well as potted trees, plus wreaths and garland. — Robert Meyrowitz


    Best Of 2015: Italian

    Chef Franco Pisani has brought his love of cooking to multiple platforms. His monthly culinary videos (available on Paravicini's website) include segments like "Feast of the 7 Fishes" and "Farmer's Market Shopping and Cooking." He also has a book available on Amazon (Mama Mia! Now That's Italian) filled with family stories and recipes from his youth. As a board member of the Colorado Restaurant Association's Pikes Peak Chapter, Pisani has advocated for more independent, chef-driven restaurants in town. In December he told the Indy, "There are meal-replacement restaurants, and then there's dining experiences." It's safe to say Paravicini's is the latter. — Amanda Lundgren


    Best Of 2015: Local Sports Store/Outdoor Outfitter

    Open since 1968, Mountain Chalet is an institution in downtown Colorado Springs. But for Jim and Elaine Smith, the business is brand-new. The Smiths were looking to buy an outdoor store when they saw Mountain Chalet on a trip to the Springs. They gave the owner a call and asked if they could purchase the store. The deal was finalized in March. "It's a passion of ours that we wanted to do for a long time," Jim says. "... We were like, 'This shop is awesome.' It really spoke to us." He adds that it's been smooth sailing since, with the couple having benefited from the store's longtime employees and loyal customer base. — J. Adrian Stanley


    Best Of 2015: Taqueria

    Two restaurants, both alike in dignity, in fair Colorado Springs, where we lay our scene. To the west lies Monica's owned by Raul Rodriguez and Mina Lopez. They produce a stunner of a plate of San Diego-style fish tacos, fried up and served on a corn tortilla with pico de gallo, cabbage and a bright sauce of mayonnaise, sour cream and radish. To the east, Monica's is owned by Raul's sister, Rosa Rodriguez. Their fish tacos are also served with cabbage and pico de gallo, but they use a pre-made tartar sauce. — Griffin Swartzell


    Best Of 2012: Wait Staff

    At Mona Lisa, the servers are extremely experienced — one has been there for 15 of the restaurant's 16 years, and the average is about six years. In short, they've been around long enough to know they're not the main event at this fine-dining attraction. "They're attentive, but not overbearing," Mona Lisa owner Jeff Kiepke says simply. Most customers come to Mona Lisa to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or other life event, which means a 2½-hour, four-course fondue meal. And in an environment like that there's a lot to be said for servers who can blend into the background but never be missed. But perhaps the clearest thing you can say: They're the best around. — Pam Zubeck

    Bites 2013: Fondue For Two

    Customize your own four courses, but here's how we'd roll: the Caesar salad first, then the Old World cheese option for the bread-veggie-and-fruit round. The Wild Game Entrée Platter for the main affair, featuring buffalo, trout, boar and more. And then a dark chocolate dessert fondue at meal's end, with a liqueur shot of your choice — Amaretto perhaps? — for a buck more per head. ($49 per person)


    Best of 2015: Bar for a Margarita

    The Loop serves its margaritas in two sizes. Manager Anna Cipolletti says "the regulars are pretty large, and the grandes are huge." Which is why we always recommend pairing your Silver or your Skinny (or whatever flavor strikes your margarita fancy) with a good, solid meal. Options abound, but you might try Cipolletti's suggestion of the special Molcajete: a chicken, pork and steak dish, with veggies, onions, spicy poblano sauce and nopal (aka prickly pear) cactus. — Kirsten Akens


    Best Of 2012: Toy Store

    You drink microbrews, frequent farmers markets, and wear beanies spun from local, gently harvested alpaca fiber. When it comes to toys, then, why would you go mass-production? You wouldn't. You would, instead, go to Little Richard's Toy Store, the section of the Poor Richard's emporium where, as co-owner Richard Skorman puts it, "three-quarters of the customers might be under 5 years old, and laughing." Over 17 years, Skorman and company have cultivated relationships with small manufacturers and distributors who make toys that "have a purpose," and often an educational link. The place (which still makes sure to stock the classic Slinkies, Erector Sets, etc.) teems with energy and inspiration. Make sure you're signed up for the birthday club, which gets you sizable discounts once a year. — Kirk Woundy


    Best Of 2015: Vintage/Secondhand Clothing Store

    Best Of 2015: Place to Buy Vintage Video Games

    A few years ago, local business entrepreneur, musical savant and former Indy columnist Adam Leech was worried when Colorado College refused to renew the lease on his downtown location. These days, it's looking like the school did him a favor. Moving to the west side has given him the kind of space he needed to properly showcase a retail playpen filled with vintage clothing, rare vinyl, old-school video games, Six Million Dollar Man dolls, and REAL Star Wars (emphasis his) collectibles. "We have doubled the selection of clothing, tripled the vinyl, quadrupled the toys and games, quintupled the stickers and pins," he says. "You don't even want to know what we sextupled." Still, Leech's underlying philosophy remains constant. "It's the grown-up Leechpit, for grown-ups who don't want to grow up." — Bill Forman


    Best Of 2013: Grocery Store


    Best Of 2015: Middle Eastern

    If you've never sampled authentic Middle Eastern cooking, Heart of Jerusalem is the place to do it. Family-owned and -operated, HOJ fills plates to the brim with delicious and distinctly spiced favorites like refreshing dolma; crisp, heart-shaped falafel; juicy lamb kabobs; and fragrant saffron rice. Treat yourself to a hot cup of sage tea, or if you're a little adventurous, an order of Turkish coffee, presented in a lovely cezve and packing a powerful caffeine kick. — Bridgett Harris


    Best Of 2013: Shoe Store


    Best Of 2014: Thrift Store

    Arc Thrift Stores have swept this category for the past eight years, and it's no wonder why. Each of the four stores in town is large, clean and well-organized, with wide aisles and an abundance of merchandise that changes daily. Kathy McAdoo, director of community events, explains that proceeds from the stores' sales help fund the 12 Arc chapters in the state, which help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The stores also help their paying customers with a military discount, as well as 50 percent off most items for seniors every Tuesday, and for everyone who shops on Saturdays. — Kendal Kullman

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