It's been a year of seemingly constant transition at the Craftwood Inn (404 El Paso Blvd., Manitou Springs, craftwood.com). After two years in charge, chef Ben Hoffer took off in January and was replaced by one-time Conscious Table partner Dave Cottrill. In May, Cottrill was out and sous chef Tim Richardson took over as interim, then head, chef. Now Richardson has left, and Brother Luck has stepped in.
Luck's name should be familiar, as he was at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort for three-plus years before he took a job in early 2010 in Chicago, at another Benchmark Hospitality property. Benchmark shipped him to San Antonio last year, before his wife found a job opportunity back in Colorado Springs.
"I'm happy to be home," says the Bay Area-born Luck. "This is the one place I've lived that I really wanted to come back to."
Rumor had it that Luck was looking for his own place, and he admits to poking around a bit before this opportunity presented itself. But, he says, "What better transition than to take over at a beautiful place and treat it as my own?"
Luck's new menu, focusing on fall and winter flavors, launches Monday, Oct. 8, and the chef is already planning for his kitchen garden next spring. He says he hasn't changed the "integrity" of Craftwood's game-heavy menu, but he's working with the cooking techniques and style of presentation, focusing on the basics.
One plate to look for is anything but basic: a new elk Nutella entrée, pairing the protein with the popular chocolate hazelnut spread. "I wrote it and I just laughed," he says. "It just made sense."
À la carte
• As of Oct. 3, Colorado Springs Food Tours (coloradospringsfoodtours.com) is offering a new, weekly Wednesday Downtown Cocktail Tour from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The cost for a drink demo and sampling plus appetizer at Springs Orleans, The Famous, Jack Quinn Irish Alehouse & Pub and the Rabbit Hole is $29.
• Slow Food Colorado Springs (633-4304) will host a potluck and pig roast ($12/members, $15/non-members) from 4:30 to 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Old Colorado City History Museum (1 S. 24th St.). TAPAteria chef Jay Gust will handle the pork; guests should bring an app, salad, side or dessert and a beverage. RSVP by Oct. 8.
• The Famous (31 N. Tejon St., thefamoussteakhouse.net) will host a Colorado Spirits Tasting from 10 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, Oct. 13. Tickets to sample from outfits like Leopold Bros., Stranahan's and Spring 44 are $25 ($30 at the door).
• The 20th annual March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction will run from 6 to 9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 18, at The Broadmoor (1 Lake Ave., marchofdimes.com/colorado). Sample from 15 area chefs for $150.