Side Dish 

Culinary crumbs and gastronomic gossip

Hail to the King
King's Chef Diner (110 E. Costilla St.) is less than a month away from opening a second location in the space that was formerly Big City Burrito (131 E. Bijou St.). Even more exciting, the 13-seat purple castle's notoriously awesome vegetarian green chili hits the shelves this week in 16-ounce jars ($6) at area Whole Foods. Sometime down the road, it's expected to launch nationally.

The Bijou location, according to owner Gary Geiser, will accommodate the bottling. As for bringing the castle's charm to a conventional space, Geiser says he's going to "try hard to get the look" by installing another elbow-to-elbow dining counter and later adding turrets to the building.

Geiser says the credit for the Whole Foods gig belongs to a pair of regular customers who work there, adding, "They pressured their bosses and pushed it on Whole Foods."

Geiser plans to let demand guide his hours, but the castle will be open weekdays (tentatively 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.), and the new store seven days a week (tentatively 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Call 634-9135 for more.

More than mat
After much speculation, word is finally out on who will occupy 56 Park Ave. in Manitou Springs, former home to Blue Vervain restaurant: the Community of Manitou Springs, often called "the Mat people" as proprietors of the Mat Factor (966 Manitou Ave.).

According to member Nadive Lawrence, the space, open as of Wednesday, is called Community Foods. It consists of a bakery and three times the market space that the community previously operated at the Common Sense Market (1136 Manitou Ave.). Call 685-1314.

Full disclosure: Indy publisher John Weiss purchased the 56 Park Ave. space and is leasing to Community Foods.

Heart attack
When Heart of Jerusalem Caf owner Hussein Abukhdeir rounded the bend on Manitou Avenue last Friday, the entire contents of his restaurant were sitting outside. Eviction day had arrived, a day before he planned to move his possessions out, he says.

Abukhdeir's landlord, Bill & 2 Chucks-Manitou, LLC, beat him to the task, ahead of a pending trial over damages to the space. (They'd already won a ruling that Abukhdeir had violated his lease.)

"It was never about whether he was popular or good for business," says property manager Kass Johns. "He was bad for the building."

But good news for people who care more about falafel than dirty laundry: Though no lease is yet signed, Abukhdeir hopes to be open again in Manitou by mid-August.

Send the word on all things new and spicy to scene@csindy.com.


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