Vinum Populi promises European peasant bites and wines 

click to enlarge COURTESY VINUM POPULI
  • Courtesy Vinum Populi
Miguel Garza’s a local, a graduate of Wasson High School and Colorado College, recently returned from 18 years in the Los Angeles hospitality industry. He’s owned seven restaurants, including Venice Beach’s Clutch, which he co-owns with Castle actor John Huertas. So why leave?

“My brothers live out here, and I have nieces and nephews that I don’t really know, and folks are getting older,” he says. “I just figured it was time to come back.”

And since he’s returned, he’s found the Springs sorely lacking in something he grew to love in L.A.: wine bars. It’s true the city has a few — Enoteca Rustica and Swirl come to mind — but Garza’s eyeing the underserved Eastside as the home for his own wine bar, Vinum Populi, set to open in early August.

“This is a concept I’m revitalizing that I did [in L.A.],” he says. “We won ‘best wine bar in L.A.’ [in Anthony Dias Blue’s magazine, The Tasting Panel in 2007].” Garza’s the right man for the job, a sommelier certified by the Italian Sommelier Association.
Location Details Vinum Populi
6165 Barnes Road, Suite 170
Colorado Springs, CO
Vinum Populi is a concept rooted in simplicity, meant to be less a dress-up dinner spot than a local haunt, especially for anyone who wants to grab a quick bite and a glass of wine throughout the day. He intends to offer 32 wines on any given day, with glasses, half-glasses and ounce pours handled by imported Enomatic wine dispenser/preservation machines, which he says keeps the wine fresh. He’ll offer wines from Eastern Europe, South America and more.

“Bottle prices range anywhere from $8 a bottle to $1,500, so you can try things that you would never normally be able to try,” he says.

The menu will feature Spanish-style tapas on his appetizer and happy hour menus, plus Italian entrées ranging from hand-made pasta and Neapolitan pizza to scallops and oxtails. For charcuterie and cheeses, he’s offering a mix of imported meats and offerings from Seattle-based Salumi Artisan Cured Meats.

“The biggest transition that people will have to understand is that it’s not super-fancy food,” he says. “It’s really just European peasant food.”


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