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Waiting for Mr. B

We mentioned last week that a minivan drove into Mr. B's Famous BBQ & Soul Food at the corner of Cimarron and Sierra Madre streets on Nov. 7. I finally spoke to Mr. B himself, Ivan Bookard, this week, for an update on repairs to the classic Valentine diner, which was knocked off its foundation.

"I'm trying to get back open as soon as possible," says Bookard, "but I'm in a holding pattern for now."

Bookard says he's still dealing with the insurance company for the driver (who fell asleep at the wheel, apparently), and that it could be months until he's in business again.

Bookard, Pennsylvania-born and trained to barbecue "by a lady in the South" while in the service, has run three Springs incarnations of Mr. B's over more than 30 years. He had retired before allowing faithful customers to bring him back two-plus years ago. He claims to have invented the first green barbecue sauce in the world. (Wouldn't you guess, he doesn't give out the recipe.)

True Irish coffee

Tom and Margaret Logan have taken over the Coffee Exchange and Winebar (526 S. Tejon St.) after immigrating from County Antrim in Northern Ireland. Tom, a former pub owner there, says they visited Colorado Springs 15 years ago and liked the scenery, people and "weather with more than one season." So they bought the shop in September, as a "working retirement" investment.

The menu of coffees, pastries, wines, liquors and light food remains roughly the same as under prior ownership, but the Logans have introduced Guinness and Harp on tap, plus traditional Irish music sessions on Thursdays.

Shop well

A Health magazine panel of experts recently ranked the Top 10 healthiest grocery chains out of the largest 35. Criteria for making the cut included the prevalence of organic and local food options, produce freshness and access to nutritional info. Turns out we host four of the winners: Whole Foods Market, Safeway, Albertsons and SuperTarget.

Take note

The Melting Pot (30-A E. Pikes Peak Ave.) is now offering a late-night special: cheese and chocolate fondue plus a bottle of wine for $40 per couple. The deal runs 9 to 10, Sunday through Thursday, and 10 to 11, Friday and Saturday.

The Mediterranean Caf (118 E. Kiowa St.) now offers free wi-fi, in addition to frequent-visitor punch-cards and free catering delivery inside the 80903 ZIP code.

Manitou's Stagecoach Inn (702 Manitou Ave.) will serve a traditional Thanksgiving dinner from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the big day. The cost is $15 to $22; call 685-9400.

Compiled by Matthew Schniper

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