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Giuseppe's new groove

Giuseppe's Old Depot Restaurant (10 S. Sierra Madre St., giuseppesdepot.com) will unveil a new menu July 12, but that's hardly the most exciting news coming out of the old railyard. More importantly, the longtime landmark is now under a new kitchen leader: Brent Beavers of Sencha acclaim. (Disclosure: I worked for Beavers for two-plus years at the gourmet spot that sadly became an Arby's.)

The shakeup follows Giuseppe's transfer to new proprietorship in February, when Joanne and Ed Colt, who'd run the spot since the early '70s, yielded to building landlords, the Ochs family. That name will be familiar to some because of Larry Ochs, who was Colorado Springs mayor from 1975 to 1979.

Beavers says the Ochses tasked him to rebuild the outfit's image — one punctuated by serviceable, but not remarkable, food — and turn the spot into a premier restaurant destination. To do that, he's firstly cutting the 70-plus-item menu in half and launching a more tightly focused selection built around a "mountain Italian" theme and from-scratch food. Literally, it's been out with the can openers and in with the peelers and knife kits, he says.

"We're going back to fresh, à la minute sauces and food made to order," says Beavers. "We're going to stay moderately priced, but the food will be better." Sourcing of more local and quality products will contribute to that, he says.

Though all will be reconceived, not all popular items will disappear: Eggplant Parmesan, the Reuben sandwich and pizzas will remain. Daily "avant-garde" pizza and pasta specials will be added, as will new desserts, a new wine list, wine dinners and Sencha-style "literary dinners." The once-locally-famous salad bar will get a facelift, and a fried-food-heavy children's menu will be made healthier as well, says Beavers.

"I've wanted to have an Italian restaurant for years," he says, adding, "Where we start and where I want to end up I haven't even talked about yet. This crew has untapped, raw potential."

Lobby lovin'

Another dining spot with a "complete facelift" is the West Lobby Bar at Broadmoor West (1 Lake Ave., broadmoor.com). The top-tier hotel recently refurnished the lounge and expanded outdoor patio seating, in addition to debuting a new tapas menu by Charles Court chef Greg Barnhill. Items (a surprising $5 to $10) include an open-faced duck confit sandwich, buffalo sliders and a cambozola cheese and blue crab fondue. Hours are from 4 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. nightly.

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