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From Surfside to wayside
Maybe it's bad timing. Maybe it's our struggling economy. Or maybe it's a testament to the local perception that independent businesses simply can't make it in the chain-dominant landscape of Powers Boulevard.

Whatever the reason(s), Palapa's Surfside closed last weekend.

Though Palapa's upscale food and drinks won rightful acclaim in six-plus months, business wasn't strong enough, according to consulting chef Victor Matthews.

"I didn't have anything to say in this closing at all," says Matthews. "[Owners Kevin McCarthy and Rolf Anderson] didn't call me or return my calls. I found out like everybody else ...

"It's the owners, the real estate, the economy and the banks that closed the doors. Not the food, the service, our love of the community or the community's love of us."

Matthews claims to have never taken a paycheck for the venture; had it succeeded, and spawned other locations across the country (as was the plan), he would have earned a stake in partnership and ownership. Fortunately for him, his Black Bear restaurant in Green Mountain Falls is still doing well and Paragon Culinary School, of which he's the dean, began teaching 40 new students this week, he says.

Time to HOP along
On the heels of last week's cover story on a lifelong trucker comes this tale of a local, dedicated IHOP waitress:

Margaret Richardson, 74, is the only member left from the original crew that opened the 512 N. Chelton Road location on Aug. 31, 1973. Prior to her 35 years of service there, she worked for IHOP in Torrance, Calif., for 10 years.

"My managers and the customers have been very good to me," says Richardson.

She plans to retire on her IHOP anniversary, and take up more hours of charity work. And she'll pass the mantle to her daughter, Terri Clark, who's been at IHOP for about six months. Call 632-5098 to say congrats.

Tasty tidbits

King's Chef Diner owner Gary Geiser says the new location at 131 E. Bijou St. will open Monday, Aug. 11, and will keep daily hours from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. The purple castle at 110 E. Costilla St. will be open only weekdays, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Geiser also says he'll roast Whole Foods' first bottled green chili order next week.

Second Street Art Market (366 Second St., Monument) recently added "and Wine Bar" to its name. Wouldn't you guess, that's because it now serves more than 25 wines by the glass or flight, with a tapas menu until 9 p.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays. Call 488-2506 for more or visit

Compiled by Matthew Schniper

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