Side dish: Brent Beavers' new venture 

Beavers goes solo

Years after he owned and ran the kitchen at Sencha (where I worked for a couple years), Brent Beavers is venturing out on his own again. This time, it's with a new cooking-class-centric concept called Conscious Table (conscioustable.net, coming soon).

Beavers says he hasn't yet found the right location for the business, so he'll launch his "moveable feast" later this month, using private homes for five-course, "15-flavor" dinners (wherein one item may be prepared three ways as one course, for example). They'll be limited to 10 people at $80 per person.

Once a location is found, he intends to host special, farm-to-table style Friday and Saturday night prix fixe dinners for up to 30 people, with weekly changing menus and "all avant garde" food.

"I have no interest in selling a Reuben ever again," says Beavers, who last cooked at Giuseppe's Depot.

In addition, Beavers envisions a membership program that would allow access to a "culinary lending library" of cookbooks and kitchen equipment. His planned classes are divided into three types: casual demonstration and tasting style; hands-on, cook-and-eat style; and one-on-one intensive training. He'll go into classic territory, like knife skills and pasta making, but also will host classes for singles, children, late teens and the disabled, while welcoming ideas for customized classes for small groups.

Chop Chop shop

After 3½ years as a caterer, Blue Sage (5152 Centennial Blvd., creativecateringsolutions.com) expanded in mid-May to offer weekday lunches from 11 to 2 at the open-kitchen Blue Sage Café. Items like a Southwest Chop Chop Salad (with turkey, black beans, avocado ranch dressing and more) and barbecued beef brisket sandwich hang in the $8 range, and the outfit offers weekly menus on a chalkboard.

Chef and co-owner Greg Soukup, who worked with Sodexo for many years, says he buys items from local farmers like the Arkansas Valley Organic Growers and makes everything fresh. All items can be prepared gluten-free, and he also offers several vegetarian and vegan options, though there's also a cheeseburger to balance the lighter fare.

Look for the launch of BYOB, three- to four-course prix fixe dinners in the $25 range, as early as September.

Old hat, new energy

Originally opened in 1986, Rilea's Pub (5672 N. Union Blvd., 598-6622) came back under the proprietorship of original owner Sonja Rilea in early June; she'd sold it back in 2008. Rilea describes it as a basic neighborhood bar, with five taps, a full liquor selection, happy hours, a seasonal NFL ticket and lots of regulars. Among the sparse eats: pizzas, pretzels, egg rolls and taco bar Wednesdays.


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