Natasha Shnaper has made big changes to her cozy little coffee shop.

The first clue of a refresh is a faux porch scene painted on the second floor out front of Sacred Ground Café and Cocktails at 1801 Cheyenne Blvd. New signage has deleted the “s” from “grounds” to de-emphasize espresso drinks — though the great coffee is still there. The interior has been spruced up with fresh paint and new upholstery on chairs. And Shnaper has vastly enlarged the once tiny patio, which now encircles the entire building. With a full bar outside, the tree-shaded, terraced dining area is perfectly charming, begging customers to linger. Longer evening hours have been added to capitalize on her garden-like alfresco dining.

New menus have been introduced, too. The breakfast menu is still full of hearty dishes such as the chorizo green chile empanada, banana nut oatmeal and homemade baked goods. The lunch has been upgraded with more salads and sandwiches. The new sunset menu features a mix of snacks, small plates and large plates.

Breakfast is offered 8 to 11 a.m.; lunch, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and the sunset menu, 3 to 8 p.m. Details: 475-0888,

Wine bar refresh

Vinum Populi, at 6165 Barnes Road, has a new menu for the crowds coming out to root for the Rocky Mountain Vibes.

“People kept saying the original menu was too fancy,” said owner Miguel Garza. “My new menu is a bit more Powers corridor friendly. It’s just a little more approachable for most people.”

You’ll find burgers, nachos and down- home food, such as a California club sandwich with sweet potato fries.

What hasn’t changed is the unique wine service offered with Garza’s cuisine. His wine operation had been hitting it out of the ballpark for oenophiles since opening almost a year ago.

Two self-service wine towers hold six red wines and six whites at the perfect temperature for each. The dispensers keep wine from being altered by oxygen and protect its organoleptic integrity — taste, aroma, body and color — for more than 24 days.

“It’s a fun interactive way to learn about different wines without having to take a chance of buying a bottle and deciding you don’t like it,” Garza said. “We offer a rotating selection of wines from around the world to be sampled by the ounce, full or half glass.”

Garza keeps a wide range of prices for wines. There’s also a full bar. Definitely a cozy place for a date night, especially since it’s for folks 21 or older. Details: 418-3114.

Treat dad on his day

Andres Schlesinger, co-owner of The Exchange, 526 S. Tejon St., knows what dads want for Father’s Day: waffles.

“We have a new improved waffle menu,” he announced on Facebook. “Dads get half price beermosas and bloody Marys on their day. We’re excited to host TREO Jazz Combo on Father’s Day.” Doors open at 7 a.m. Waffle service starts at 8, and the jazz is on from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Regular breakfast and lunch menus served 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. No reservations taken. Details: 635-0277,

contact the writer: 636-0271.

Food editor

Food writer for features life section and columnist for Go! Entertainment - Table Talk column

Load comments