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Side Dish: Bristol Taproom cleared for takeoff

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(Red) rocket flight

SSP America is the company responsible for food and drink stops in travel hubs internationally. When its folks eyed overhauling the Colorado Springs Airport, one thing had to go: the Gordon Biersch bar, which really never capitalized on that brand. Desiring something truly local, SSP approached Mike Bristol of Bristol Brewing Co.

"I was skeptical because of Gordon Biersch," Bristol says. "I wasn't interested in putting up a sign and calling it done. It took a few talks for them to convince me that they wanted to do it right."

Doing it right means that the Bristol Taproom — tentatively scheduled to open around the holidays — will "have a similar look and feel as our downtown tasting room," according to Bristol. In fact, there'll be stainless steel design and even a shuffleboard table. Though SSP will operate the venue, Bristol's folks will organize the tap selection, with up to eight of their beers among the 10 taps. They're also providing input on the space's design, layout and menu.

Acting similar to the New Belgium Hub at the Denver International Airport, the Bristol Taproom will mean increased sales for Bristol, but also a taste of something truly local for guests: in Bristol's words, "a presence at the gateway to the city."

Purple Perk

The Pikes Perk at 14 S. Tejon St. will soon celebrate a re-grand opening under the name Downtown Perk (635-1600). The change reflects owners Don and Kay Heaberlin's split from Pikes Perk roaster Rick Roehrman. Having just purchased Purple Mountain Coffee Co. from Pat Ellis, they'll now do their own roasting at 218 W. Colorado Ave.

Kay says they may open a tiny coffee shop under the bridge later, but for now will just roast there, continuing Purple Mountain's contracts with places like the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center. Fans can still buy by the pound during limited hours, Wednesdays through Saturdays.

Expect other changes at the Downtown Perk, including new drink names (for the same recipes) and more fair-trade and organic products, in the interest of being "more environmentally conscious and friendly."

À la carte

Pizzeria Rustica (2527 W. Colorado Ave., pizzeriarustica.com) became the 10th 4-Star Certified Green Restaurant in the country last week. In 2009, the eatery had become the first Colorado independent to be certified by the Green Restaurant Association and, at that point, just the third 3-Star in the U.S.

• According to Rocky Mountain Restaurant Group CEO Randy Price, Over Easy, a daytime eatery (28 S. Tejon St., rockymtnrg.com) will open at 6:30 a.m., Monday, Oct. 1, for its first day of service.

• A note on the former Naturally's Market & Café Facebook page says: "Goodbye to The Phoenix in Manitou! May we rise again on the beaches of California!"

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