From Grand Slam to tantalizing tandoor, the much anticipated Urban Tandoor, 8125 N. Academy Blvd., has completed the transition from Denny’s. The grand opening is 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday.

“Urban Tandoor takes immense pleasure in announcing the formal opening of its doors to its guests and patrons,” says the Facebook invitation. “Our apologies for having kept you waiting for more than expected. We’re overwhelmed with your responses while accompanying us in our journey from scratch till date. We thank you for keenly following and engaging with all our social media posts expressing your eagerness to visit us. We look forward to your august presence on 8th July.”

Get in line early. Gift cards adding up to thousands of dollars will be given to the first 500 customers.

“It’s urban rustic,” said co-owner Raymond Sandhu. “We have the space divided into conversation areas. We will have a buffet for lunch and fine dining at night. The menu will have intercontinental dishes, Indo-Chinese, pasta and tandoori dishes.”

Food will be cooked primarily in the classic tandoori oven, “the largest tandoori oven in North America,” says co-owner Kanwal Jhand.

The clay oven is fueled with charcoal and will reach more than 400 degrees. Five chefs will cook in the spacious open galley, led by executive chef Dev Singh, who has a dozen years of culinary experience in Indian restaurants. Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Details: 323-1492, facebook.com/TheUrbanTandoor, theurbantandoor.com.

More than tacos

The strip mall at Delmonico and Rockrimmon boulevards just got a little tastier. Zapata Mexican Taco Shop, 207 W. Rockrimmon Blvd., suite E, has opened its doors. Owner Oscar Macias brings a strong restaurant background from owning several Pueblo Viejo Mexican Restaurants.

“I’ve sold all but one Pueblo Viejo,” he said. “I still have the one at 5598 N. Academy Blvd.”

His new venture is a welcome addition to the center, home to Momma Pearl’s Cajun Kitchen and Cleats Bar & Grill.

Besides tacos, you’ll find tortas, quesadillas, burritos and plate options served with rice, beans, guacamole and tortillas. Macias is especially proud of the house specialty, al pastor.

“We make this every morning,” he said, pointing to the huge pile of sliced pork and topped with a pineapple.

Known in Spanish as “shepherd style,” the dish is based on shawarma spit-grilled spiced pork, which Lebanese immigrants brought to Mexico.

It’s similar to the Turkish doner kebab or Greek gyros.

The eatery is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Hours are 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

A liquor license is in the works. Details: 434-7509, tinyurl.com/y3uueeka

Rotating doors

Jason Miller is the new executive chef at Colorado Springs Marriott, 5580 Tech Center Drive. For the past eight years, he led the culinary team at The Mining Exchange.

“I’ve always loved this property,” he said. “When my wife, Christine (Adrian Miller) worked here, I got to know the kitchen. And when I heard Sean (Owens) was the food and beverage director, it was an easy decision to make the move.”

His first task is to get a new room service menu dialed in. Then he quickly will turn his attention to reworking the other menus.

“It will be a Colorado bistro with French techniques I’ve been trained in,” he said. “I’m turning to source as much as possible locally. Colorado ingredients when I can get good quality. I want to have a more upscale dinner menu.”

Details: 260-1800, tinyurl.com/yy2ahpu4

contact the writer: 636-0271.

Food editor

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

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