The monthly Sunset Dinner series at Almagre Venue + Bar, 2460 Montebello Square Drive, continues to progress as the business evolves. The bar is in place with a working kitchen. The August dinner brought Amy Fairbanks, formerly the executive chef at Garden of the Gods Market and Café, to the galley. She prepared a five-course Italian summer menu with seasonal ingredients. The meal was paired with wine and craft cocktails by bar manager Christian De Los Santos.

Fairbanks, an award-winning chef, is working as a consultant with the Almagre team to create regionally themed food boards, which will be served in the bar. We got a sneak peek at some of the offerings. For $16 select from:

• Southern Hospitality — American with cheese ball, house pickles, bourbon barrel-smoked ham, pimento deviled eggs and boiled peanuts.

• Buen Provecho — Mexico City with al pastor tacos, jicama and chicharrones, and paletas de coco (coconut popsicle).

• Bordeaux — France with brie en cocotte, new potatoes, jamon (ham), and sourdough baguette.

• La Mancha — Spain with pisto, manchego, chorizo, grapes and baguette,

• Nordic Noshing — Scandinavia with salmon lox, pickled herring salad, rye bread, new potatoes, hard-boiled egg, pickled red onion and schmears.

• Midday-Midnight-Munchies — American with bagel bittys, bomb nachos, dill pickle popcorn and toasted mallow bars.

The bar will open Aug. 29. Hours are 4 to 11 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and noon to 11 p.m. Saturdays.

The final two Sunset Dinners feature Pete Moreno, executive chef at MacKenzie’s Chop House, Sept. 10, and a surprise guest chef will prepare the dinner Oct. 8. A package for the two remaining dinners costs $100, or they can be purchased individually for $55. Visit

New chef in town

Philip Griffin is the new executive chef at Till Kitchen, 9633 Prominent Point. From England, he studied culinary at Bristol Catering College near his home. Upon graduation, his career has taken him on a journey working with Michelin-starred chefs including Thierry LePratre Granet, Phil Vickery, the world famous Raymond Blanc, French master chef Eric Chavot and Marco Pierre White. In Northern Ireland, he ran the Beech Hill Country House Hotel and later, in the British Virgin Islands, he was executive chef at The Last Resort. In 2012 he moved to Austin, Texas, to be executive chef at Restaurant Jezebel. A friend told him about an opportunity in Colorado Springs. Happy to move to a cooler climate more like his native United Kingdom, he latched onto the head job at Till.

“I loved the feel of this space,” he said, gazing around the spacious Till dining room. “I grew up on a small farm when my mom cooked using what was available in season. That’s what I will be doing here. Working with local small farmers as much as possible. For sure, Colorado lamb will be on the menu. I love to use lamb rump roast — it’s so delicious.”

Expect new menus with moderate pricing to appeal to families.

“The game plan is to work with baker to introduce new items the second week in September,” he said. “Then appetizers the third week and entrees the end of the month.”

Summer hours until Sept. 2 are: lunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and dinner 4 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and Sundays, 4 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and brunch 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Details: 282-8004,

Chef move

Mark Painter, formerly a culinary arts instructor at Pikes Peak Community College, has taken the position of residential chef at the Roaring Fork Dining Hall at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. From Colorado Springs, Painter started his culinary career in 1974 washing dishes at Sambo’s Restaurant. Self-taught, he worked his way around places in Virginia, Idaho and Hawaii. Back in Colorado Springs, he has made a name for himself working as head chef at the El Paso Club, the Briarhurst Manor and the Cliff House in Manitou Springs. He’s a Certified Executive Chef, a first-level sommelier and carves outstanding ice sculptures.

Local bartender moving up

Albion Bundey, bartender at B&GC in the Halcyon, a Hotel in Cherry Creek in Denver, was born in New York City but grew up in Colorado Springs. He has a psychology degree from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

He’s no stranger to the restaurant industry. His mom is Christine Adrian Miller, formerly a pastry chef at Springs Orleans, and his stepdad is Jason Miller, executive chef at the Marriott Hotel.

Bundey teaches occasional cocktail classes for the Halcyon’s Cocktail Club.

contact the writer: 636-0271.

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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