Tex-Mex restaurant chain coming to northern Colorado Springs commercial center
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(Courtesy of Chuy's via Facebook)

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A Tex-Mex restaurant chain is expanding its Colorado presence into Colorado Springs.

Austin-based Chuy's plans to open next spring in the Highlands at Briargate retail and commercial center being developed southwest of Briargate Parkway and Chapel Hills Drive.

The restaurant on the Springs' far north side will be Chuy's fourth in Colorado; it has eateries in Lakewood and Westminster and will open one in the Denver Tech Center in late June, the company said via email.

Chuy's, founded in 1982, owns and operates 95 full-service restaurants in 19 states, according to the company's website.

Chuy's describes its menu as "authentic, made from scratch Tex-Mex inspired dishes," using family recipes from "Texas, New Mexico and Mexican border towns." Its restaurants offer an "eclectic and irreverent" atmosphere that varies from site to site.

In Colorado Springs, Chuy's plans a 7,260-square-foot, free-standing restaurant with a 1,078-square-foot patio on the northeast corner of Highlands at Briargate, says a company email. The restaurant will employ about 170 people.

Asked to explain its interest in Colorado Springs, the company cited a summary of the city's demographics, population growth, signature institutions such as the Air Force Academy and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and its strong tourism industry.

"We are currently focused on the Highlands location, but know that Colorado Springs is a great market that could support more than one Chuy's," the company email said.

The Highlands at Briargate is being developed on nearly 43 acres east of the Focus on the Family campus. Focus and The Keith Corp., a North Carolina-based commercial real estate firm, formed a joint venture to develop the project.

Adding Chuy's - a new-to-market restaurant - helps spotlight the Highlands at Briargate, said Graeme Keith III of The Keith Corp.

"It was a huge get for us," Keith said. "They're an awesome concept. First-to-market just speaks to the strength of our site and our location. In a lot of restaurant magazines and articles, Chuy's is consistently listed as one of the top hottest new concepts. For us, it was great to get them."

Einstein Bros. Bagels and Caribou Coffee, along with a Verizon store, have opened at Highlands at Briargate. Smashburger and Basil & Barley, a local Neapolitan pizzeria, are to open in late summer, Keith said.

Other users coming to Highlands at Briargate will include the 40,000-square-foot Highlands Medical Group, the Legend Senior Living Center and Massage Heights, which offers massage, facials and other services.

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Contact the reporter: 636-0228

Twitter: @richladen

Facebook: Rich Laden

Business writer, Colorado Springs Gazette

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