Pork and petrol

Come June, Texas-based Rudy's Country Store and Bar-B-Q (rudys.com) will open a franchise location at the corner of Highway 24 and 31st Street, making the west side the best side for barbecue, beer and — gasoline? (Yee-haw!)

Vice president Pete Bassett says the company was originally tipped off to the site by Christofferson Commercial Builders, a locally headquartered company with a Texas satellite. He and colleagues have been attempting to open the restaurant and country/convenience store for three years, but have been held up by zoning issues.

"We're just really looking forward to and excited to be in Colorado Springs," Bassett says.

Expect traditional barbecue, seating for 200 and take-out, à la carte-style ordering.

Whet winter

To warm you from the inside out, wine and beer options abound in January:

• At 6:30 p.m. on second and fourth Wednesdays starting this month, the Blue Star (1645 S. Tejon St., thebluestar.net) will offer four wines and four tapas for $30. Sample ports on Jan. 13, Spanish wines on Jan. 27 and sparkling wines on Feb. 10.

Swirl Wine Emporium (717 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, swirlwineemporium.com) will host a blind wine tasting from 4 to 6 p.m., Jan. 16, during which you can learn to decipher region, grape varietal, age and more "with no clue what wine you have." The cost is $15.

Trinity Brewing Co. (1466 Garden of the Gods Road, trinitybrew.com) has planned multiple January events: Pappy Legba crimson saison ("aged on a grip of pie cherries") release, 5 p.m., Jan. 15; International Barley Wine tapping, noon, Jan. 23; Stop Making Sense Eisbock ("the strongest German beer brewed today") release, 5 p.m., Jan. 29.

À la carte

• Though one might first suspect that a "Tuscan Two-fer" is some bawdy act fit for reference in a Judd Apatow flick, it's actually the name of January's monthly special at La Zingara Italian Restaurant (75 U.S. Hwy. 105, Palmer Lake, lazingarapalmerlake.com). Along with 25 percent off bottled wine, enjoy dinner for two for $19.95: a choice of one of six starters like bruschetta, Caesar salad or pepperoni pizza to share, followed by two of eight entrée options like pesto manicotti, gnocchi bolognese and sausage cannelloni.

3 Hermanos, which opened in late 2008 at 16 E. Bijou St., closed recently.

The Melting Pot (30-A E. Pikes Peak Ave., meltingpot.com) recently announced an ambitious community outreach campaign for 2010, in which a local charity or nonprofit will benefit each month from select meal and wine sales as well as customer donations. January proceeds benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.


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