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Return to sender

Just shy of its four-month mark, Il Postino (123 E. Pikes Peak Ave., has abandoned its initial vision of a healthy-eating concept and let go of its first chef. Last Thursday, the venture launched a new Cajun- and Southern-food-influenced menu under new head chef Seles Bowser and incoming sous chef James Davis.

Event and marketing director Shelby Pywell says Bowser lends experience from Las Vegas and Louisiana restaurants to this first arm of The Mining Exchange, A Wyndham Grand Hotel. Davis, of course, brings his own longtime Blue Star leadership, and his brief experience at Crêpe Française International last year.

Pywell says that more changes are on the way, such as a tentative plan to turn Il Postino into X300, which was originally slated to be inside the hotel; it would offer a bold, food-scene-challenging menu of 100 wines by the glass, 100 beers and 100 tapas. Look for the hotel's opening as early as June.

Fresh churn

After a two-week closure for remodeling, downtowners' favorite pre- or post-cinema sweets destination, Josh & John's Ice Creams (111 E. Pikes Peak Ave.,, reopened for business this past Tuesday. In addition to new bathrooms and new paint throughout, the floor (previously tiled) has been taken down to the concrete — "through 100 years of glue," in owner John Krakauer's words.

Krakauer says this was Phase One of the job; Phase Two will see new counters, tables and chairs sometime toward the outfit's 25th anniversary on July 9. No closure should be required for that phase, but the proprietor plans to be married in the store on that day as part of the celebration, and customers are welcome. Three special flavors are planned: a wedding cake (duh), "Hava Vanilla" (he's Jewish), and a third mystery flavor that's a surprise for his wife-to-be.

À la carte

AspenPointe Café (5069 N. Academy Blvd.,, the social enterprise devoted in part to teaching disenfranchised people culinary skills, opened a sister operation in Castle Rock this week. The Justice Way Café is located inside Douglas County's Robert A. Christensen Justice Center (4000 Justice Way).

Bristol Brewing Co. (1647 S. Tejon St., will host its seventh annual Firkin Rendezvous from 1 to 5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 19. This year's event will spotlight cask-conditioned ales from 23 Colorado breweries. Proceeds from the $40 tickets ($35 in advance) benefit the Colorado Brewers Guild.

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