Changing Palace guard

Loyal patrons of India Palace (5644 N. Academy Blvd., 535-9196) have noticed a change in the cuisine lately, which dates back to the restaurant's sale in early February to Vivek Chandra. The new owner and 10-year Colorado Springs resident says he was a prior partner in a Mountain View, Calif., Indian restaurant, and also a friend of India Palace's former owners.

Regulars will notice "some minor differences, but on the better side," says Chandra, who has contracted celebrity Indian chef Deepak Bhardwaj to train his staff, including future head chef Attma Ram Verma, for a period of three months. Bhardwaj, who has cooked and instructed all over the world, says he has also helped open 68 restaurants in 23 states.

Chandra says that in addition to Bhardwaj's improvements on food presentation and freshness, he'll be upgrading the restaurant decor and adding such attractions as the current Saturday belly dance nights.

Coffee evolution

From the bones of what was Caveman Coffee a couple of years ago comes City Sippers Coffee (2438 E. Pikes Peak Ave., citysipperscoffee.com), a nearly two-month-old drive-through across from Stargazers Theatre & Event Center. Under a bright orange awning, look for coffee, espresso and tea standards of the hot, cold and frozen varieties, including the Undertow — a double shot of espresso with vanilla syrup and cream for $1.80.

Kent Perron, husband of owner Julie Perron, says the outfit currently uses local Firedance Coffee for its brews, as well as Sweet Daphne Confections for its muffins, scones and cookies. Though it's the couple's first foray into coffee business ownership, Kent says he managed a coffee shop for several years.

Hours are 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to noon, Saturdays; look for online Facebook fan specials.

NorthSide Johnny's?

Johnny Nolan of SouthSide Johnny's (528 S. Tejon St., southsidejohnnys.biz) confirmed this week that he and a couple of potential partners have been scoping out the former Navajo Hogan Roadhouse building at 2817 N. Nevada Ave. in hopes of opening a neighborhood restaurant and bar similar to SSJ's. In consulting with constructor Chuck Murphy, Nolan has learned that the building is in desperate need of repairs and upgrades in order to meet current building and health codes — to the tune of nearly half a million dollars.

"The heating and air conditioning units and copper have been stripped, grease traps undersized and outdated, plumbing in disrepair ... the list goes on," he says, adding that the deal now hinges on "negotiating a reasonable sale price based on what it will take to bring it up to code."


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