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Colorado Springs gets upscale bar in hotel lobby

July 12, 2017 Updated: July 12, 2017 at 10:57 am
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Audrey Landress, pastry chef at The Antlers, a Wyndham Hotel, created new desserts for The Piccadilly Bar in the lobby of the hotel, including (right) hot molten cake and (left) peaches & champagne. Photo by Teresa Farney

Shhhh. The Piccadilly Bar in the lobby of The Antlers, a Wyndham Hotel, 4 S. Cascade Ave., is having a soft opening. Other eateries in the hotel will open in the next several weeks.

"The grand opening of Piccadilly will be Aug. 3," said owner attorney Perry Sanders Jr. "We're still fine-tuning the menu and getting our wine list completed."

But I didn't notice any hiccups with service or food preparation on the evening I dined there. This is much more than a pub. It's an upscale space with a nod to the hotel's history. As promised when I had a tour in May 2016, "It's going to come back to its glory days," said Ryan Blanchard, the hotel's former general manager.

The bar will have about 50 local liquors, 50 wines by the glass and 100 craft beers, the hotel's website says.

"Right now, we are making classic cocktails," said Julie Minor, assistant outlet manager. "We will be adding more craft cocktails using local liquors. There will be some changes to our current food menu, too."

Here's hoping the excellent poutine ($9) doesn't wind up on the chopping block. The famous Canadian dish classically is made with french fries topped with brown gravy, cheese curds and fried bacon. Rene "Joey" LeBlanc, the executive chef, jazzes up his version with a red wine demi-glace and chopped pastrami.

I didn't like the fried green tomato BLT ($12) - I love, love, loved it. How can you go wrong with battered fried tomatoes, crispy lettuce, lemon herb aioli and spicy bacon jam between buttery rosemary sourdough toast? The pan-seared trout ($20) was perfectly cooked and deliciously topped with lemon capers in brown butter. The mini frisée salad tossed in champagne vinaigrette and served alongside the fish brought a refreshing acidic complement to the rich sauce.

Rene "Joey" LeBlanc, executive chef at The Piccadilly Bar, in the lobby of The Antlers, a Wyndham Hotel serves fried green tomato BLT and pan seared trout. Photo by Teresa Farney 

Desserts come via Audrey Landress, an award-winning pastry chef.

"We've had a lot of fun researching menu items from the days when the dining room was called The London Grill," she said. "The peaches and champagne dessert is based on a dessert from those days."

The London Grill, a formal dining room, will open in a few weeks, too. July 24 is the scheduled opening for Duca's Neapolitan Pizza in the former Judge Baldwin's Brewing Co. space. Visit antlers.com.

Artful joe

The Fine Arts Center Coffee Cart is operating in the hallway just outside of Taste, the former restaurant at the FAC, 30 W. Dale St., 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. Espresso 12- and 16-ounce drinks, using local High Rise Coffee Roasters beans, run the gamut, including americanos ($2.29 and $2.69),lattes ($2.69 and $3.19) and mochas ($3.39 and $4.09). Energy bars, trail mix and fruit are available. According to Austin Kumm, director of operations for Bon Appetit Management Co. at Colorado College, a Grab-and-Go cooler with salads, sandwiches, wraps and other prepared food will be added in the coming weeks.

"We plan to re-institute pre-theater dinners and hope to bring other creative ideas to the amazing space (former Taste restaurant)," he said.

Thai one on

The Wine with Thai Dinner takes place at 2South Food and Wine Bar, 2 S. 25th St., at 6 p.m. July 25. For $65 per person, you get a five-course authentic Thai dinner paired with wine. Details: 351-2806, 2southwinebar.com.

'KVOR Table Talk'

Guests on the "KVOR Table Talk" radio show at 1 p.m. Saturday:

- James Africano, owner/executive chef of The Warehouse, 25 W. Cimarron St., is joined by Eric Viedt, partner and executive chef of The Margarita at PineCreek, 7350 Pine Creek Road, to talk about Club Nine, a nonprofit of local, civic-minded chefs, and the club's annual Fiddles, Vittles and Vino at Rock Ledge Ranch, 1401 Recreation Way, 3 to 8:30 p.m. July 30. Food, wine and beer is first-come, first-served, with tasting lasting as long as vendors have samples. Tickets are $45 per person; $50 per person after July 23, $20 for children 13 and younger; $25 after July 23. Visit fiddlesvittlesandvino.com.

- Lisa DiDonato, co-owner with her husband, Ches, of Pikes Peak Lemonade Co., 224 N. Tejon St., talks about the artisanal drink business. The beverages do not contain artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. They also offer lemonade and limeade mixes, as well as seasonal specials such as hot toddy and hot chocolate mixes. Visit pikespeaklemonade.com.

- Blandine Brutel, owner of The French Culinary Center, 4771 N. Academy Blvd., is joined by baker Sébastien Mullebrouck to talk about the new center with cooking classes, café, bakery and boutique. They will talk about new classes and the menu for the café. Details: 528-6295, tfkcc.com.

- Gretchen Pressley, community relations manager for the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, 610 Abbot Lane, talks about Happy Tails Happy Hours. Local breweries host a happy hour and donate $1 from every beer sold for homeless pets at HSPPR. Coming up, Rock Bottom Brewery, 3316 Cinema Point Drive, 3 p.m. July 27 and Peaks n Pines Brewing Co., 4005 Tutt Blvd., 5 p.m. Aug. 10. She also will talk about Pawtoberfest, set for Sept. 16. Details: 473-1741, hsppr.org.

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Send tips about restaurant openings, closings and specials to teresa.farney@gazette.com, 636-0271, Twitter: @tffoodie or Facebook Teresa Farney.

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