Rico's Cafe (copy)

Rico’s Café and Wine Bar, 322 N. Tejon St., reopened Friday as a pop-up gallery featuring more than 20 artists.

You won’t be sipping a glass of shiraz at Rico’s Café and Wine Bar anytime soon, but you can get a gander at some art.

The cafe, at 322 N. Tejon St., reopened Friday as a temporary pop-up gallery featuring more than 20 artists from around the Pikes Peak region, including Jeremiah Houck, Mark Wong, Sheary Clough Suiter, Nard Claar, Susan Tormoen, Patti Paiz Jones and Maggie Quinn. Visitors can stop in from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Food and beverages will not be available.

The cafe and Poor Richard’s restaurant have been closed since mid-July due to the pandemic. Poor Richard’s Books and Gifts and Little Richard’s Toy Store are open.

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“It’s valuable retail space downtown,” said Laszlo Palos, director of marketing and public relations for the Poor Richard’s complex. Owned by Richard Skorman, the complex features seven businesses under one roof. “It was killing us to see it empty. We wish we could have done it sooner, but we were playing musical chairs with how much to be open and should we keep the restaurant or cafe open. It wasn’t profitable in the long run.”

The eateries will reopen when restaurants are allowed to entertain at full capacity, said Palos, who’s hoping that happens by early summer. In the meantime, the roster of featured artists in the gallery will rotate.

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“We’re trying to support local artists,” said Palos. “It’s also a way to test new artists and price points. When we reopen, we’ll incorporate the artists who have been selling (their works) into the gift store and bookshop.”

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Both eateries offered curbside service and delivery last year, but the unusual layout of each establishment made physically distancing customers problematic. “Restaurants have to have 80% capacity in normal times to make money,” Laszlo said.

Contact the writer: 636-0270

Contact the writer: 636-0270

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