Downtown Colorado Springs Wrap-up Round-up

We love living in Chicago now. We appreciate all the things that big cities have to offer, including the progressive attitudes of the citizens and the people in charge. But Colorado Springs has its charms, and it was really hard to leave. The downtown area is very pretty with lots of trees and flowers (when the city can find it in the budget to water them) and beautiful historic homes and buildings (for now anyway). There are lots of little shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars, a couple of cute parks, a public library, some art galleries, and two museums. It’s flat so it’s easy to walk or bike around, and the views of the mountains are stunning.  Here are some of the things we loved about living in downtown Colorado Springs (along with some of our gripes, as usual).

You can walk or bike all over the place. It's flat and the drivers are cautious.

You can walk or bike all over the place. It's flat and the drivers are usually pretty cautious.

Smiley's was just a couple blocks from our house, and we went there many weekends for breakfast.

Smiley's was just a couple blocks from our house, and we went there many weekends for breakfast. Click this pic for their website.

Homespun handwritten menu at Smiley's

Homespun handwritten menu at Smiley's

Breakfast at Smiley's is delicious!

Breakfast at Smiley's is delicious! Probably the best bacon in the COS.

Tejon St. Music has been around a long time. Great place for all your guitar needs. Click this pic for their website.

Tejon Street Music has been around a long time. Great place for all your guitar needs. Click this pic for their website.

Pretty residential street in downtown Colorado Springs

Pretty residential street in downtown Colorado Springs

Our old apartment downtown. It's since been sold and the new owners "remodeled" it, basically ruining all its old history. Still, it's got pretty neighbors.

Our old apartment downtown. It's since been sold and the new owners "remodeled" it, basically ruining all its old history. Still, it's got pretty neighbors.

Lunch on the patio at Poor Richards. Best pizza in town! Click this pic for their website.

Lunch on the patio at Poor Richard's. Best pizza in town! Click this pic for their website.

Cocktails and coffee at Poor Richards.

Cocktails and coffee at Poor Richard's.

Paris Crepe- one of our all-time faves. Click this pic for their website.

Paris Crepe -- one of our all-time faves. Click this pic for their website.

The best crepes are at Paris Crepe. Don't they look delish?

The best crepes are at Paris Crepe. Don't they look delish?

Paris Crepe is across the street from Acacia Park and it's nice to spend a summer evening eating crepes on their sidewalk cafe.

Paris Crepe is across the street from Acacia Park and it's nice to spend a summer evening eating crepes on their sidewalk cafe.

The weather is gorgeous and the views are stunning from downtown.

The weather is gorgeous and the views are stunning from downtown.

In the summer there are free concerts in Acacia Park on Saturday evenings.

In the summer there are free concerts in Acacia Park on Saturday evenings.

There's also a farmers market there on Mondays.

There's also a farmers market there on Mondays.

Acacia Park and Monument Valley Park are fun places to sit and have a picnic.

Acacia Park and Monument Valley Park are relaxing places to sit and have a picnic.

You can walk everywhere downtown.

You can walk everywhere downtown.

 

Terra Verde and Sparrowhawk Cookware are little locally owned shops with neat items for sale. Click this pic for Terra Verde's website.

Terra Verde and Sparrowhawk Cookware are great locally owned shops with neat items for sale. Click this pic for Terra Verde's website.

The Rodeo Days parade takes place every July down Tejon St. There's also  St. Patrick's Day parade, and a Christmas parade.

The Rodeo Days parade takes place every July down Tejon St. There's also St. Patrick's Day parade, and a Christmas parade.

Tony's Bar. The bar we love to hate. Click the pic for Tony's website.

Tony's Bar. The bar we love to hate. Click the pic for Tony's website.

Zeezo's is the place for all things magic and costume. Click this pic for their website.

Zeezo's is the place for all things magic and costume. Click this pic for their website.

If you're young and preferably in the military, you'll love weekends at downtown's pseudo honkeytonk, Cowboys. They also have bowling upstairs.

If you're young and preferably in the military, you'll love weekends at downtown's faux honkeytonk, Cowboys. They also have bowling upstairs.

The sidewalk cafes at Il Vicino, The Ritz, and Jack Quinns are nice places to have a meal.

The sidewalk cafes at Il Vicino, The Ritz, The Olive Branch, and Jack Quinns are nice places to have a meal.

Catch a movie at The Peak (but be aware they don't take credit or debit cards). They also have a small bar where you can grab a cocktail, glass of wine, or a beer to take into the theatre.

Catch a movie at The Peak (but be aware that they don't take credit or debit cards). They also have a small bar where you can grab a cocktail, glass of wine, or a beer to take into the theatre.

Then go over to the nightclub compound on Tejon St. and have a drink at the bar with the fire on the roof.

Then go over to the nightclub compound on Tejon St. and have a drink at the bar with the fire on the roof.

La Baguette has delicious french fare. Click this pic for their website.

La Baguette has delicious french fare. Click this pic for their website.

A brewpub whose building was saved from the wrecking ball by Governor Hickenlooper (way before he was governor), Phantom Canyon.

A brewpub whose building was saved from the wrecking ball by Governor Hickenlooper (way before he was governor), Phantom Canyon.

The Pioneers Museum is a neat place to spend an afternoon.

The Pioneers Museum is a neat place to spend an afternoon.

Labor Day weekend is the Balloon Festival, we could see them from our bedroom.

Labor Day weekend is the Balloon Festival, we could see them from our bedroom.

Slightly north of downtown is the well-stocked nursery, The Good Earth Garden Center. Click this pic for their website.

Slightly north of downtown is the well-stocked nursery, The Good Earth Garden Center. Click this pic for their website.

The Good Earth Garden Center is a nice place to walk around or pick something out from their vast selection of plants and garden art.

The Good Earth Garden Center is a nice place to walk around or pick something out from their vast selection of plants and garden art.

Slightly south of downtown is Bristol Brewing. They make their own beer and have a tasting room. Click this pic for their website.

Slightly south of downtown is Bristol Brewing. They make their own beer and have a tasting room. Click this pic for their website.

Beer flight at Bristol Brewing.

Beer flight at Bristol Brewing.

 

We’ve devoted a lot of space on this blog to downtown, and this post is not at all comprehensive (we didn’t even mention Shuga’s!). So please check out our other posts for tons more things to do. And be sure to let us know what your favorite downtown things are and when new shops and restaurants open up! We might not live there anymore, but we still care. And of course we’ll be back at some point. Hell, maybe we’ll even come back and get that coffee truck we’ve been dreaming about rolling.

 

Our favorite Colorado Springs restaurants

We got so busy in the last few months we were in Colorado Springs that we didn’t have time to do very many posts. So I’m going to do a few Colorado wrap-up posts in the next few weeks before embarking on full force Chicago entries.

These are some of our favorite restaurants in The Springs. Give them a try if you haven’t been.

Adam’s Mountain Cafe:

Honey pot at Adam's Mountain Cafe

Honey pot at Adam's Mountain Cafe

Adam's Mountain Cafe in Manitou Springs, CO

Adam's Mountain Cafe in Manitou Springs, CO

Veggie Enchiladas at Adam's Mountain Cafe

Veggie Enchiladas at Adam's Mountain Cafe

Insanely good brownie from Adam's Mountain Cafe

Insanely good brownie from Adam's Mountain Cafe

Borriello Brothers Pizza: 

Veggie Pizza from Borriello Brothers

Veggie Pizza from Borriello Brothers

Downtown Burrito Company:

Downtown Burrito Cart Man!

Downtown Burrito Cart Man!

Mediterranean Cafe:

Mediterranean Cafe

Mediterranean Cafe

Mediterranean Cafe's food is good if you can abide their idiotic hours.

Mediterranean Cafe's food is good if you can abide their idiotic hours.

Falafel at Mediterranean Cafe

Falafel at Mediterranean Cafe

The fries at Mediterranean Cafe are good but not as good as Taste Of Jerusalem's

The fries at Mediterranean Cafe are good but not as good as Taste Of Jerusalem's

Cucuru Gallery Cafe:

The outdoor space at Cucuru Cafe and Gallery

The outdoor space at Cucuru Cafe and Gallery

A tasty veggie sandwich from Cucuru

A tasty veggie sandwich from Cucuru

Lemon cake and cheesecake from Cucuru- yum!

Lemon cake and cheesecake from Cucuru- yum!

Detz Cafe: (not sure what’s going on with the pictures on this website, they’re for sure not of their food):

Everything is good at Detz Cafe

Everything is good at Detz Cafe

Calicrate beef burger from Detz Cafe

Calicrate beef burger from Detz Cafe

Perfect french toast from Detz Cafe

Perfect french toast from Detz Cafe

Mmmm grilled cheese from Detz Cafe

Mmmm grilled cheese from Detz Cafe

Gold Hill Java:

Egg salad sandwich lunch special from Gold Hill Java

Egg salad sandwich lunch special from Gold Hill Java

Healthy Mediterranean wrap from Gold HIll Java

Healthy Mediterranean wrap from Gold HIll Java

Go right away to have the most amazing affogato at Gold HIll Java!

Go right away to have the most amazing affogato at Gold HIll Java!

Heart Of Jerusalem:

Falafel from Heart Of Jerusalem

Falafel from Heart Of Jerusalem

Heart of Jerusalem

Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Jake and Telly’s:

Soup and appetizers at Jake and Telly's

Soup and appetizers at Jake and Telly's

Janel enjoying some apps at Jake and Telly's

Janel enjoying some apps at Jake and Telly's

Lofty’s:

Chicken salad from Lofty's

Chicken salad from Lofty's

Reuben sandwich and pasta salad from Lofty's

Reuben sandwich and pasta salad from Lofty's

 

McCabe’s Tavern:

Cheeseburger and cider at McCabe's Tavern

Cheeseburger and cider at McCabe's Tavern

French dip from McCabe's Tavern

French dip from McCabe's Tavern

The Melting Pot:

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot

Paris Crepe: (You must go to Paris Crepe. Check out our official review with more pics)

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Pizzeria Rustica:

My parents enjoying Pizzeria Rustica's patio

My parents enjoying Pizzeria Rustica's patio

Locally sourced antipasto tray

Locally sourced antipasto tray

Shuga’s: By far my favorite restaurant in Colorado Springs, or really, just about anywhere. We’ve written a ton about them on this blog.

Shuga's has an excellent happy hour

Shuga's has an excellent happy hour

Fabulous sandwiches at Shuga's

Fabulous sandwiches at Shuga's

One of the daily pasta specials at Shuga's

One of the daily pasta specials at Shuga's

Fancy roast beef sandwich at Shuga's

Fancy roast beef sandwich at Shuga's

Smiley’s:  Another place we’ve written about before, here and here.

Breakfast at Smiley's

Breakfast at Smiley's

Smiley's cute decor. They've recently expanded to the space next door, doubling their size- shorter lines now!

Smiley's cute decor. They've recently expanded to the space next door, doubling their size- shorter lines now!

 

So there you have it, the first of my Colorado Springs wrap-up posts. Be sure to visit these places and let me know what you think!

 

 

 

Please vote for us!

Voting ends on Wednesday August 31st for the CSIndy Best Of The Springs– so go vote and earn a chance to win an iPad! Of course we’d love you to vote for us- Oinkety- as best local blogger, and Pink Kitty Studios for best photographer, best place to buy an over the top gift, and best naughty business. Since you have to vote in at least 15 categories, here are our other faves!

1.Best Wait Staff: Detz Cafe.

2.Best Restaurant for Tourists: Paris Crepe.

3.Best French Restaurant: La Baguette. The one on Chestnut.

4. Best Patio Dining: Shuga’s.

5.Best Middle Eastern Restaurant: Taste of Jerusalem.

6.Best Food Truck: Phat Hattie’s.

7.Best Burger: Drifter’s.

8.Best Place for Ice Cream: Dogtooth Cafe.

9.Best Local Beer for Winter: Bristol’s Venetucci Pumpkin Ale, of course good luck getting any.

10.Best Breakfast: Smiley’s.

11.Best Caterer: Blue Sage Catering.

12.Best Place for an Over-the-Top Gift: Pink Kitty Studios.

13.Best Photographer: Pink Kitty Studios.

14.Best Naughty Business: Pink Kitty Studios.

15.Best Local Twitterer: @barelyescape.

16.Best Local Blogger: Oinkety!

Thank you!

Why you’re going out of business

Hint: It’s not the homeless. Or parking.

Or any of the other dumb things businesses like to blame. (Some downtown myths and realities)

Downtown today is the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, and over the weekend was the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon. What this means is downtown is packed. There’s also a farmers market today, a concert — downtown today is essentially a festival. And guess what. We counted at least eight businesses that are closed.

Closed.

Look, we’re going to offer some free business advice: People can’t spend money in your store if you’re closed. Oh, but I’m always closed on Mondays. Fine. Not this Monday. Even one of our favorite places, Smiley’s, is closed today.

What’s the saying, something like: 90 percent of success is just showing up? All these people milling around downtown today have nothing to do but spend money. And they’re not spending it at Smiley’s. Or any of the other stores that can’t be bothered to be open on a weekday.

Simple things, people: Stay open. Accept credit and debit cards. Offer service, convenience and value — every day. And while you’re at it, businesses need websites. Websites with their hours, their contact info, menus, etc. (But this is another post for another time.)

When your store finally goes out of business, you can whine and cry and blame parking (though there’s free parking downtown today); you can blame the homeless; you can blame just about anything you want, but the truth is much, much simpler: You’re going out of business because you don’t really want to be in business.

Sorry, we're closed

Sorry, we can't be bothered to be open on one of the busiest days of the year. You'll have to come back some other time to spend your money. Some other time when it's convenient for me.

Gunning for second place

It’s that time of year again, where we shamelessly ask for your vote on The Independent’s annual Best of Colorado Springs survey.

Last year, we tied for third with then-Business Journal writer John Hazlehurst and decided that he must be destroyed. He has since moved to the Indy, which means that while he still pens a regular column, we have not seen any Hazlehurst-specific “blog.” Consider yourself destroyed, Mr. Hazlehurst.

The first-place winner was a coupon thing, so whatever with that. Who can compete with bargains? The second-place winner is a member of Big Media, and who can trust Big Media?

It’s time for Oinkety to be the Springs’ No. 2 blog.

You have to vote for at least 15 things for your ballot to count. Here’s a sampling of what we voted for:

  1. Best Wait Staff: Detz Cafe.
  2. Best Restaurant for Tourists: Paris Crepe.
  3. Best French Restaurant: La Baguette. The one on Chestnut.
  4. Best Patio Dining: Shuga’s.
  5. Best Middle Eastern Restaurant: Taste of Jerusalem.
  6. Best Food Truck: Phat Hattie’s.
  7. Best Burger: Drifter’s.
  8. Best Place for Ice Cream: Dogtooth Cafe.
  9. Best Local Beer for Winter: Bristol’s Venetucci Pumpkin Ale, of course good luck getting any.
  10. Best Breakfast: Smiley’s.
  11. Best Caterer: Blue Sage Catering.
  12. Best Place for an Over-the-Top Gift: Pink Kitty Studios.
  13. Best Photographer: Pink Kitty Studios.
  14. Best Naughty Business: Pink Kitty Studios.
  15. Best Local Twitterer: @barelyescape.
  16. Best Local Blogger: Oinkety!

Adrienne and I agreed on a few of the categories. But we disagreed on a bunch, too:

  1. Best Neighborhood Restaurant – West: Adrienne enjoys La Baguette, but I like Cucuru.
  2. Best Neighborhood Restaurant – Central: Adrienne went with Shuga’s, while I went with Detz.
  3. Best Restaurant for Dining Alone: Adrienne would rather go to Shuga’s alone, and I prefer Poor Richard’s.

In fact, for just about every category, Adrienne picked Shuga’s. Best Happy Hour; Best Patio; Best Place for a Wedding Reception; Best Appetizers; Best Soup; Best Bartender (Kevin); Best Place for a Fancy-Pants Cocktail. Someone has a Shuga’s addiction.

Vote for Oinkety or this cat will cry

We sometimes write about cats. That alone is worth your vote.