It was a shock when the historic Craftwood Inn closed this past March — especially considering that our readers had voted it the city's Best Overall Restaurant in 2013, during a period when Chef Brother Luck had led it.
Owner Dave Symonds, who'd operated it for a decade, said he was hemorrhaging money, in part due to the impact Manitou flooding had on potential customers.
A month ago, Symonds sold the Craftwood for $950,000 to business and life partners Brian Scully and David Monson, who plan to reopen it March 1 as the Craftwood Inn Event Center (404 El Paso Blvd., Manitou Springs, craftwood.com). That will come after extensive overhauls to "give it personality again and bring it back to life." The pair is adding cobblestone wedding gardens, a new waterfall, new flooring, artwork and upscale interior seating, plus renovated bride and groom cottages.
"Our interest is in the personality of the building and the style of architecture," says Scully. "It's just what brides are looking for."
The two, prior to a recent six-year stint in Hawaii, operated an event center in Genesee, Colorado, and a catering center in Denver over 27 years. Scully, the acting chef, graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. Still, the site will operate as an event center only, not a restaurant.
Meanwhile, Symonds continues to work on selling the Stagecoach Inn, which he also owns.
Less kitsch, more kitchen
Another legacy spot, Meadow Muffins, shuttered in September, but was quickly acquired by The Hatch Cover's owners, who promised to reopen under a slightly altered concept that would respect the outfit's history.
That day arrived a couple weeks ago, when Mother Muff's Kitchen & Spirits (2432 W. Colorado Ave., 344-8727) quietly started daily service, 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., with a full menu until 1 a.m. and live music Fridays and Saturdays as of a Dec. 19 and 20 grand opening.
Breakfast items compose roughly two-thirds of that menu, which does still include burgers, sandwiches and pizzas. Co-owner Susan Hirt says 90 percent of the offerings are made on site, including house-baked breads and hand-battered mozzarella sticks. Seeking to surpass expected breakfast fare, she's added fun items like a bacon bowl ("my husband is the original fat kid — he loves bacon"), literally bacon baked into a bowl shape that's filled with eggs and the like, as well as breakfast sandwiches wedged between waffles. A cocktail menu follows suit with customizable, house-juiced Bloody Mary drinks and cocktails made from Champagne or coffee.
Though the new name's an obvious tribute to the old, the site's less-cluttered decor gives off a fresh vibe and reveals the charm of the original architecture, says Hirt.