Alpine to Aspen
Scene stalwart Pete Aiello recently became head chef and operations manager at AspenPointe Café (5069 N. Academy Blvd., aspenpointe.org). The café opened last fall, operating in part as a social enterprise that aims to provide disenfranchised people (from at-risk youth to seniors and people with disabilities) culinary skills.
Aiello formerly ran Alpine Chef catering, which he not long ago sold to The Pinery (the folks behind the planned Fish Market overhaul). But even more relevant to his new task, he used to run his own apprenticeship program, tutoring everyone from Culinary Institute of America and Johnson & Wales University students to local teens on work-release from minimum-security incarceration. And he's one of eight national trainers for the American Culinary Federation, traveling the Southwest region to help other chefs institute apprenticeship programs.
With a decade on the board of the local ACF chapter, Aiello has connections that should help his AspenPointe apprentices after their intensive, 18-week program, which he says is as extensive as a two-year program at Pikes Peak Community College.
The café is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., weekdays for dine-in or takeout, and 100 percent of proceeds are invested back into the business for training.
Open up, Buttercup
Late July or early August should usher in our fifth local, self-serve frozen-yogurt outfit: Buttercup's Frozen Yogurt (27 S. Tejon St., buttercupsfroyo.com). Springs natives and Lewis-Palmer High School graduates Joshua Mitchell, 23, and Alexis Spiranac, 22, plan to distinguish their shop as a truly healthy alternative by using no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners, but real ingredients.
They'll source synthetic growth hormone-free yogurt from Boulder-based Yoki Bliss, which shares production space with the Boulder Ice Cream company.
Spiranac, an athlete and self-proclaimed "health nut," says Buttercup's will seek out as many other local ingredients as possible, including fresh fruit in season, and ideally, organic options down the road.
À la carte
• At the turn of its first anniversary, Motif (2432 Cucharras St., motifwest.com) is expanding to service on Thursday nights in addition to Fridays and Saturdays. Doors open at 4 p.m. with a happy hour until 6. At the June 2 celebration (tonight), happy hour deals run all night.
• Pikes Peak Brewing Co. (pikespeakbrewing.com) finally opened its doors last weekend at 1756 Lake Woodmoor Drive in Monument. For the moment, you'll find five house beers and four guest taps, complemented by sandwiches, pretzels, soups and a meat and cheese plate.