Side dish: Arabica goes pizza 

Pita to pizza

After an initial opening in summer 2008 and ownership change in summer 2011, the Arabica Café (12 S. Tejon St., 471-2444) is now out of business. On June 1, the location turned into NJ Pizza Cafe under George Will, who also owns Equity Lending Mortgage Corp. some four blocks south on Tejon Street.

Will, son of departing Arabica owner Barbara Sondree, has partnered for the venture with Jeff Puglisi, another former New Jersey resident, who claims more than 20 years of food service experience. When asked about opening a pizza place directly across from Il Vicino, Will simply says, "You've gotta come try it."

Hey, if Poor Richard's and Louie's Pizza can both survive and thrive on their block — and not far from a Borriello Brothers location — then who's to say the South Tejon strip can't buoy two pie-slingers, too?

Will talks up his authentic New Jersey recipes for dough and sauce, and the distinguishing characteristic of selling pizza by the slice, on-the-fly, as opposed to the sit-down approach taken by his wood-oven neighbor. Guests can opt for a creamy Alfredo versus traditional red sauce on the thin-crust creations, and find stromboli, Philly sandwiches, salads and fried starters.

Brews, bears and busts

Nosh (121 S. Tejon St., nosh121.com) added a 10-tap beer system to its bar last month, and GM Tyler Schiedel says he wants to "see how far we can take it" in challenging customers with unfamiliar brews.

Joining the likes of Trinity Brewing Co., Front Range Barbeque, Another Pint, and Brewer's Republic, Nosh is getting lines on rare beer kegs via its distributors. In-demand brands like Dogfish Head — currently, the My Antonia Imperial Pilsner ($8 for 12 ounces) — will join Belgian sours and other styles with acquired tastes. Though eight taps will be devoted to those strange brews (with one funneling a portion of proceeds to Pikes Peak Urban Gardens), two taps will always carry Bristol Brewing Co.'s Beehive and Laughing Lab.

Remember these two words, friends: happy hour.

• The Black Bear (10375 Ute Pass Ave., Green Mountain Falls) will soon debut a new bourbon bar element, featuring more than 40 high-end bourbons and 20 bourbon-based cocktails. Owner Victor Matthews, who's acting as consulting chef for the upcoming Southern Hospitality venture in Denver ("Southern exposure," Side Dish, May 23), will also add Cajun appetizers to accompany the drinks in a "Southern-style gastro pub" format.

• Both Café 609 (609 W. Midland Ave.) and Buster O'Brians (727 Gold Hill Place South) have closed recently in Woodland Park. Meanwhile, Rancho Liborio has shut its doors at 1660 S. Circle Drive.


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