A restaurant revival is well underway at the corner of Tejon Street and East Moreno Avenue in Colorado Springs. Among the five recently opened food and drink offerings in this downtown enclave are Denver’s own Dos Santos and Atomic Cowboy, along with Frozen Gold, a new ice cream spinoff. For diners trekking to the Pikes Peak region this winter, here’s what you’ll find that’s brand new to the neighborhood:
The vibe: This is the latest addition to Colorado Springs’ restaurateur Joe Campana’s empire (see also the Rabbit Hole, Bonny & Read, SuperNova, and Stir). With 210 whiskeys and a vast assortment of wines, this posh lounge comes complete with velvet high-back chairs, chandeliers, surreal paintings by Phil Lear, and a commanding granite bar.
“The Victorian chairs and art is ‘The Adams Family’ meets ‘Penny Dreadful,’” says Lucas Frye, Campana’s business partner. “We wanted to go over-the-top.”
Favorites: The Bavarian pretzel with brie fondue. For drinks, the Old Fashioned and Vieux Carrie. “My favorite is our whiskey list,” Frye says. “I worked every angle to get hard-to-find juice.”
Don’t miss: “The wine list. It’s sneaky good,” adds Frye.
The vibe: In a stylish and rustic new space, Denver-based brothers Jason and Kris Wallenta combine Mexican cuisine (they spent time cooking in Cozumel) and classic French training, resulting in a spectrum of bright, gourmet tacos.
Favorites: The margaritas. “Food-wise, the OMFG and arrachera (steak) tacos, and the Guak Trio appetizer,” Jason says. “Tuna bites are extremely popular during Happy Hour.”
Don’t miss: “The roasted cauliflower taco is straight fire,” according to Wallenta. Also, weekend brunch.
The vibe: This seventies-retro disco spin on ‘50s-era ice cream parlors is the newest arm of Drew Shader’s Atomic Provisions (see below for the rest). Nearly all ingredients are made in-house and designed for flavor combinations.
Favorites: The cheeky menu includes combinations like Basic B with vanilla soft serve dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt; and Silly Rabbit topped with Trix and rainbow cereal milk. “It’s hard to name favorites because from cookie dough to Trix, we’ve got you covered,” says Nate Lotz, Atomic Provisions’ general manager.
Don’t miss: You’re So Cheesy — vanilla and salted caramel, topped with Cheez-Its, Cheetos, and Goldfish. “The combination is unreal,” Lotz says. “Everyone who tries it loves it.”
The vibe: A Denver three-in-one under Atomic Provisions, the Springs location will soon open earlier, starting at 7 a.m. on weekdays, to meet customer demand.
Favorites: As in Denver, the favorite biscuit sandwiches here are the Franklin (fried chicken, bacon, cheddar cheese, and gravy) and the Dahlia (sausage, apple butter, fried egg, and maple syrup), according to Lotz.
Don’t miss: Delivery, coming soon!
The vibe: In the early 20th Century, this building just around the corner from the others maintained streetcars that traveled Tejon until they were replaced with buses. Now the new menu in this former home of McCabe’s Tavern brings flavors, smells, and textures from around the world. “Leaning into the theme, we offer a variety of international street foods,” says owner Ari Howard. To compliment the theme, she commissioned Denver artist, Michael Ortiz, to cover the walls in vibrant murals.
Favorites: Southern fried chicken with creamy grits, braised collards, and creole sauce; also, a house-smoked porkstrami sandwich.
Don’t miss: The shrimp and crab stuffed tempura avocado with aioli, ginger, and sesame seeds — and the kimchi fries.