The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum, 200 S. Sierra Madre St., has opened to great fanfare with sports enthusiasts racing through the doors. Those guests are bound to work up an appetite touring the vast exhibits — and that’s when a refreshment break is called for. Find it at Flame Café. The culinary crew is headed by Scott Valentine, general manager, and Nick Estell, executive chef.

The award-winning Estell attended The California School of Culinary Arts. He has worked with several James Beard Award-winning chefs during his more than 15-year career. Not surprising, he has created an impressive menu for Flame.

“The restaurant was named Flame because of the flame of the Olympic torch and because we have a gas- fueled pizza oven that is at the center of our kitchen,” he said. “So, handcrafted artisan pizzas are a feature on our menu.”

The food options do not stop with Neapolitan-style pizza. There are also creative sandwiches, like a twist on the popular Vietnamese handheld: Sriracha candied bacon banh mi. It starts with bacon rubbed with a mix of brown and white sugar and Sriracha, then fried. It’s placed on a baguette smeared with basil and mint aioli and topped with pickled cukes and carrots. It’s delicious. There are burgers, salads, a full espresso bar, local beers and wine too.

Colorado Springs has access to local meat and produce

“I’m going to be getting recipes from athletes to feature at the cafe and to run in our monthly newsletter,” Estell said. “We are hoping to have some wine dinners featuring food from local ranches and farmers as well.”

The cafe is on the north side of the museum, surrounded by glass with terrific views of Pikes Peak complemented with an outdoor patio. You do not need a museum ticket to enter and dine in the restaurant. It’s open to the public. There’s a large space on the south side of the museum, which is suitable for private events. Estell and his crew cater all the events and meetings held in the facility.

“The cafe opens 30 minutes before the museum so visitors can grab a coffee,” Estell said.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays through Fridays and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays. Visit

Colorado Springs chefs give tips for tackling the giant jackfruit

Meadery and kombucha tasting

Patrick Dobbins, owner of Annapurna Mead Co., 40F Mount View Lane, has teamed up with two kombucha makers to open a tasting room featuring their beverages and for to-go orders. In addition to tasting flights of delicious dry-style honey wine by Dobbins, enjoy tastings of unique flavors of fermented juice from Nektr Kombucha and COS’bucha. Hours are 3 to 7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. There will be a grand opening Sept 3 with food trucks. Visit

Pasta please

The popular TESSA Pasta in the Park fundraiser has morphed into Pasta on the Porch and a virtual cooking contest this year because of COVID-19. The event will be 6 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 29 on Facebook Live. For $100, you get a pasta kit, which serves two. It contains a pasta serving spoon and ladle, fresh baguette, a package of pasta noodles and 6-ounce containers of pasta sauce from each of the competing chef teams. You cook the noodles, sample the sauces and vote on your favorite while watching the chefs and judges. You can upgrade the kit with a bottle of wine or cocktail kits from 291 Distillery. A bartender will show how to prepare the cocktails during the show.

Brother Luck expanding beyond his menu in downtown Colorado Springs

Judges include Brother Luck, owner of Four by Brother Luck and Lucky Dumpling; food blogger Megan Thomas; and Lauren McDonald, Fox 21 News Morning Show. Chef teams are from Urban Egg – A Daytime Eatery, Mood Tapas, Stellina Pizza, Colorado Crust and Marc Anthony’s Pretzels.

There will be a silent auction online starting at 8 a.m. Aug. 28. Visit to purchase tickets for pasta kits.

TESSA is a nonprofit providing free and voluntary services to people who identify as experiencing domestic violence.

contact the writer: 636-0271.

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

Load comments