Motif Jazz Cafe will return to the scene in Colorado Springs

February 15, 2017 Updated: February 16, 2017 at 4:20 pm
photo - Coconut rice pudding brulee with raspberry and Thai basil. Courtesy.
Coconut rice pudding brulee with raspberry and Thai basil. Courtesy. 

Steve Draper opened Motif in 2010 as a place to hear the great jazz musicians that populate our city.

The popular club closed on New Year's Eve in 2015 and left a large hole in the jazz music scene and a bereft fan base that begged him to reopen as quickly as possible. Those folks are in luck - Motif Jazz Cafe is set to open this month in a larger space with more seating and a patio. Draper and general manager Nathan Stunkard are shooting for a grand opening on Saturday, though some last-minute electrical problems could cause the date to be pushed back.

"The reason Motif works is because we have such a great supply of Air Force musicians," Draper said. "Everything else is gravy for us. All the generals can hire the best players from around the country for the Air Force so we get great players who are retired and current."

It's not just the Air Force providing the talent. Colorado Springs is home to other accomplished musicians who play at Motif, including Thomas Dawson of the funk and soul band Commodores and Kim Stone from the jazz fusion band Spyro Gyra.

The first Motif was a partnership between Draper and Heather and Andrew Darrigan, owners of Food Designers Catering, a company adjacent to the original Motif that supplied the club's food. When the Darrigans and Draper decided to go in different directions, he bought them out and closed the doors in search of a new direction in a fresh space.

While the jazz music schedule remains the same - Thursdays through Saturdays - the menu and cocktails will look different. Draper has hired a new executive chef, Richard Curtis, who will take the menu in a farm-to-table fine dining direction. The goal? All ingredients will be sourced from within 500 miles of the kitchen.

"You can get a filet mignon for $12, but it's presented as a nice plate," Stunkard said. "We want to make sure people are getting their money's worth and getting a quality item at the same time."

Expect pre-Prohibition cocktails from the new beverage director beverage director, Jean-Paul Devarenne, with plenty of classic drinks and specialty martinis. The change in the beverage menu will also reflect Motif's new direction in style.

"We'll have a '50s-style theme with the staff going along with an old- school jazz feel," said Stunkard. "The women will have '50s-era lipstick and dresses and their hair done up. The guys will have old-school style hair, button-down shirts, suspenders and bow ties. We want people to feel like they're experiencing a whole other era."

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