Johnny Nolan's hat trick, and the revival of the Red Cloud Inn 

Side Dish

Red Cloud returns

In the early 20th century, the Red Cloud Inn enjoyed its heyday in Cascade, seeing much of the wealth of the mining boom pass through. During and after Prohibition, Broadmoor maître d's would send guests up to drink, and later Liberace stopped in.

Today, Baby Doe Tabor's piano resides on-site, as do historic guest log books and six ghosts. At least so says Joshua Edgar, who weeks ago opened BackRoom Pizza (8020 W. U.S. Hwy. 24, backroompizza.com) on the site, with business partner Eric Power.

Power's father, who moved to the area in the '70s, owns the building, and Edgar and Power have opted to open as a take-out and delivery service (to the immediate area) to get going, using just 500 square feet of the 5,000 available to them. Later, they aim to offer expanded dine-in service, and to take on another business partner to brew beer.

The two, both former military, met while working security for Memorial Hospital. When University of Colorado Health took over, they were both laid off, "and decided to start anew." Which meant a year's worth of remodeling — Red Cloud hadn't housed an active eatery in 13 years — to install a Baker's Pride gas-fed, brick-lined oven, to execute traditional Neapolitan-style pies. Edgar also tapped his GI Bill to start culinary classes at Pikes Peak Community College.

Beyond the familiar pizza styles, BackRoom offers both gluten-free and vegan options and salads and desserts, with pasta plates coming soon. Edgar, again emphasizing that this is Phase 1, says he's buying his dough and sauces for now and tweaking them on-site, but that he meticulously tasted through products to ensure high quality. Post-expansion, he'd like to make more in-house.

WestSide Johnny's

No, it actually won't be called WestSide Johnny's, à la SouthSide Johnny's, when it opens around late November. But restaurateur Johnny Nolan will add one more eatery to his portfolio, which also includes Johnny's Navajo Hogan: It's actually going to be named N3 Taphouse.

Located in the former Firehouse BBQ spot at 817 W. Colorado Ave., the name refers both to Nolan's three businesses and the more historic function of the building as Springs Fire Station No. 3. He says the outfit will host a "cool firefighter theme, but nothing cheesy, just some cool effects."

And unlike Nolan's other two bars, this one will also house a chef (not just dedicated line cooks and kitchen managers), who'll exert some menu control on a "higher-end" menu segment, in addition to New York-style pizzas and the same broasted chicken that's so popular at the Hogan. A custom 30-tap beer system is also being constructed to earn the taphouse designation, and 1,000 square feet that will initially be used as office space will likely be turned over to the public at a later stage, which Nolan isn't yet ready to disclose.


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