Sneak peek: COATI "culinary incubator" and food hall set for early September opening in new Trolley District

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COATI's front facade, neighboring Pikes Peak Brewing Lager House and Streetcar 520. Final construction touches remain in motion. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • COATI's front facade, neighboring Pikes Peak Brewing Lager House and Streetcar 520. Final construction touches remain in motion.

COATI plans to hold its grand opening on Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 514 S. Tejon St. in what’s being called the Trolley District, to pay homage to its history as a building where maintenance on trolley cars took place for decades. The 13,000-square-foot food hall connects to the new Pikes Peak Brewing Lager House. COATI organizers are calling it “culinary incubator,” and it will host several fixed vendors and a few vendors on short term renewable leases plus a “test kitchen” meant to allow guest chefs to pop up and play or try out a concept.

The project comes via Aaron Ewton, owner of Atlas Restaurant Group (who has a hand in Piglatin as well as Wyeline cocktails/coffee/food) and a partner in COATI with Pikes Peak Brewing's founder Chris Wright and Joe Niebur & Troy Coats of Niebur Development.

"This is something bigger than the Springs has seen," says Ewton. "We want to highlight new cuisines and keep the space fresh and relevant." Though vendors will be their own independent contractors, Ewton says the idea "is still of a whole house, more of a collective."

You can read about what the name COATI symbolizes to the team here.



Aaron Ewton, owner of Atlas Restaurant Group and partner in COATI with Pikes Peak Brewing's founder Chris Wright and Joe Niebur & Troy Coats of Niebur Development. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Aaron Ewton, owner of Atlas Restaurant Group and partner in COATI with Pikes Peak Brewing's founder Chris Wright and Joe Niebur & Troy Coats of Niebur Development.

Initial guest vendors are: Luchal's Soulful Seafood (both a catering outfit and food truck); Ephemera Elevated Food Experiences (formerly a pop up project, initially to launch downstairs then move upstairs); and Anju Korean Eats (from Piglatin’s chef Andres Velez, who's been envisioning this concept since before he opened his food truck and Cocina).

Fixtures are: XOXO (a dessert spot by pastry chefs Colby Schaffer and Erica Wetzel who worked together at The Broadmoor); Two Suns Superfood Smoothies (via Ola Juice Bar’s Nissa Wecks); and two COATI-operated bars called Rival Bar Curious Cocktails and Meso Bar, the first more experimental and the second more traditional (which will open upstairs sometime in October tentatively, and later perhaps play an incubation role as well in helping newer bartenders come up).

“We don’t want to be just a food hall,” says media representative Bonnie Singleton. “We’re saying we’re a food, drink and experience venue, also about ambiance and visual arts — we also have live performances planned,” she adds, noting on-site murals and rotating interactive pieces as well as an “activated alleyway" with art, foliage and lighting features. (They're internally calling the alleyway "the lowlands" as another reference to Mesoamerica as part of their theme.)

To that end, COATI reps have also formed a nonprofit Trolley Promotional Association that they hope to involve other businesses on their block in. Once they finish a security and safety plan, they'll continue work with City Council, as well as the city Parks and Streets departments, to form an entertainment district that will allow for looser boundaries between businesses' liquor licenses on the block so that patrons can carry containers on the sidewalk and alleyway and potentially between other businesses, but anywhere on COATI's property especially. (Details remain in motion, but think about how clunky Ivywild School has been when Bristol Brewing and The Principal's Office had to enforce no carrying between their spaces.) 



I took a preview tour of the construction in-progress with Ewton and Singleton. (Text COATI to 77948 for an invitation to a sneak peek event before official opening.) Here's how COATI is taking shape just a few weeks from opening:
The view from the entryway. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The view from the entryway.
Two Suns Superfood Smoothies will occupy the first kiosk upon entry on the space's north side. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Two Suns Superfood Smoothies will occupy the first kiosk upon entry on the space's north side.
Food vendors occupy the south wall in separate open kitchens supported by a shared prep, fridge and dish space (out of view from the public). - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Food vendors occupy the south wall in separate open kitchens supported by a shared prep, fridge and dish space (out of view from the public).
A reveal into Pikes Peak Brewing's brewery faces COATI's grand atrium. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • A reveal into Pikes Peak Brewing's brewery faces COATI's grand atrium.
Rival Bar Curious Cocktails occupies the rear space next to an exit to the alleyway, which COATI will take advantage of with its programming. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Rival Bar Curious Cocktails occupies the rear space next to an exit to the alleyway, which COATI will take advantage of with its programming.
Pikes Peak Brewing Lager House has a line of taps inside the food hall, although a neighboring doorway connects the brewery to COATI as well. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Pikes Peak Brewing Lager House has a line of taps inside the food hall, although a neighboring doorway connects the brewery to COATI as well.
A look at the first art installations to take form — this design wall faces the downstairs restroom area. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • A look at the first art installations to take form — this design wall faces the downstairs restroom area.
Pikes Peak Brewing Lager House has it's own entryway and facade north of COATI's entrance, and it connects through midway through the building. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Pikes Peak Brewing Lager House has it's own entryway and facade north of COATI's entrance, and it connects through midway through the building.
The downstairs level at Pikes Peak Brewing Lager House. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The downstairs level at Pikes Peak Brewing Lager House.
A view down on Tejon St. from the upstairs bar at Pikes Peak Brewing Lager House - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • A view down on Tejon St. from the upstairs bar at Pikes Peak Brewing Lager House
The rooftop patio at Pikes Peak Brewing Lager House - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The rooftop patio at Pikes Peak Brewing Lager House

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