A trio of closures as Josh and John's eyes expansion 

Side Dish

Old guard outro

• "We're a Walmart nation, that's what it is," says Kim Garcia of the Little Market & Deli (749 E. Willamette Ave., thelittlemarketanddeli.com), offering the short version of why the 111-year-old grocery store, the oldest in the city, will close Dec. 24. "It's the economy, the change of demographics, plus my mom [owner Chris Bettendorf] is ready to retire."

Garcia notes that six major grocery chains operate within a short radius of her mom-and-pop shop. Those are places that qualify for the bulk-buying discounts that she cannot possibly match, which in turn make her retail prices less than competitive.

The family's short-lived Mobile Market, a food truck offshoot launched in mid-2012, will also be parked with the closure. But Garcia jokes that her mom, who's owned the place for the last 15 years, always gets bored and likely won't take retirement seriously. So don't be surprised if down the road you see the commercial kitchen put to use seasonally around pre-order sales of potica (a Bohemian rolled-sweet-dough loaf filled with walnuts, butter and brown sugar), and runza (a doughy German/Russian round stuffed with cabbage, onion and ground beef), both popular mainstays at the market.

Follow the outfit's Facebook page, which will stay alive, for updates. "I highly doubt it'll ever open again as the Little Market," she says, "but it could be the Little something else."

• Chef/owner Michael A. Merlino posted on the Cañon City Daily Record's website last week that after 67 years in business, Merlino's Belvedere (1330 Elm Ave., Cañon City, belvedererestaurant.com) will close at the year's end. He did not cite a reason, but, in part, wrote: "Some of our customers have been eating at the restaurant longer than I have been alive. We want to say from the bottom of our hearts how much we appreciate every last one of you."

À la carte

Josh and John's (111 E. Pikes Peak Ave., joshandjohns.com) co-owner Lindsay Keller confirms that negotiations are underway for the outfit's second location in the Mountain Shadows area of town. Her mother lost a house in the Waldo Canyon Fire, and "there's a lot of story up there," she says, "a connectedness between folks, and that's what we're all about, is people."

Café Corto Coffee Gallery (115 E. Kiowa St.) ceased operations as of Thanksgiving. Proprietor Benjamin Gallegos-Pardo says a job offer as the coordinator of operations for the Colorado State University Denver Center was "too good to pass up," and that the business "just wasn't hitting the necessary marks" to make it worth running with more employees.


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