Criminal coffee

Come all ye caffeine offenders to take your mug shot — or stay in-house with it.

And by in-house, I mean inside the new shop at 8836 N. Union Blvd., called Mug Shots (258-8164). Owner Chris Jeffries is in the process of a soft opening — he's still designing his full menu — but coffee products using Colorado Coffee Merchants beans are ready to grab.

Jeffries, an Air Force pilot-turned-pharmaceutical rep, was recently laid off, and says "all the pieces fell into place" for a new transition into the coffee-shop business. One of those pieces was the opening of the El Paso County Clerk & Recorder's Office at 8830 N. Union Blvd., in an area where Jeffries observed no "dedicated coffee shop." After polling a friend with a drive-through coffee shop in Parker and church friends who opened Old Colorado City's Agia Sophia, Jeffries had been planning to go the drive-through route; now, he expects good foot traffic from the county office.

In the newly renovated space, look for a big-screen television, free wireless and other coffee-shop staples, as well as an expanding menu with items like pre-packaged sandwiches and wraps and sweets from Sweet Daphne Confections.

After the hibernation

The Grizzly Grill awakens! Not after a slumber, but a full renovation that yielded nearly three times the space (open and covered decks, scenic indoor seats) as well as a more "upscale" menu approach. That's all according to Sean Anglum of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road, cmzoo.org).

"It's not a wrap job in tinfoil anymore," says Anglum, noting an array of service stations where guests will be able to procure made-to-order salads, wraps and rice bowls as well as stone-baked pizzas, daily sandwich specials and desserts. The tentative opening date is March 19.

A couple related bits of news: First-graduating-class Paragon Culinary School student Manny Medina (formerly of the Black Bear and the Club at Flying Horse) has been named one of two new sous chefs under executive chef Beau Green to help run the Grizzly Grill and Wild Things Catering. Medina's first shift was at the Chef's Gala on Feb. 21, where he helped Green win Best Entrée for their Wild Boar Tenderloin with Bacon Fig Ragu.

The Texas-born Green, in the industry for 20 years and a former food and beverage director at Cheyenne Mountain Resort, has been at the Zoo for two years, and already has overhauled its catering outfit. He hopes to incorporate as many Colorado products as possible at the grill and says he wants folks to leave saying, "'Wow, I just got a great meal that I wouldn't have expected at a zoo.'"


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