Through Nigh Imports, Dave Nigh brings unique ingredients into the Springs for customers like the Craftwood Inn, Margarita at PineCreek and the Cliff House. He does the same for high-end restaurants in Boulder and Denver. His previous retail spot, Extraordinary Ingredients, closed last year.
Indy: How do you see Colorado Springs' food scene right now?
DN: As far as the food coming into Colorado Springs, I think it's getting better and better. I think there's great opportunities for the farmers. ... All in all, I think Colorado Springs is very healthy. ... I look forward to Colorado Springs, in a couple of years, doing a lot of what Denver's done.
Indy: How far behind Denver do you think we are?
DN: Before the economic downturn, late 2008, I was thinking Colorado Springs is probably only eight years, nine years away. Now I think it's gone up. [The city's] ripe for more independent restaurants. I think a lot of them may need to be dispersed out to the east side; more so than Manitou Springs and areas that really rely on more seasonal, outside money.
I think [Colorado Springs is] healthier than, say, a Boulder, as odd of a comment as that is. There's too many restaurants. ... Per capita, it's probably grown 20, 25 percent more than they can truly, you know, [support]. Some of these people that have restaurants in Boulder are really hanging on by their chinny-chin-chin because of that reality.
Indy: What's the most interesting product carried by Nigh Imports?
DN: The most interesting is probably the newest: The newest we've got is a red cerignola olive that is like those green cerignolas that you see — I think Whole Foods even sells them. They're true red olives, it's not brine-driven or anything like that, it's just a real beautiful [olive]. What I'm hearing from the chefs — I've only had it a week — [is] it's got great flavor, great price, and it just has real beautiful color on the plate.
Indy: What is one of your favorite restaurants in Colorado Springs?
DN: I would say, and I haven't been for a while, I really like that Ethiopian [restaurant, Uchenna]. Yeah, the service isn't great and it's not hoity-toity, but I didn't go there for hoity-toity. I just enjoy the experience: the kindness, the atmosphere, the food, the smells, the flavors, you know, and don't get there enough.