New businesses sprouting around Colorado Springs show city’s culinary growth

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Local businesses are popping up all across Colorado Springs, including several cool new spots to eat and drink.

Pikes Peak Lemonade Company opened its doors downtown on North Tejon Street just last week.

“We go all over the state to do farmer’s markets, vintage markets and sell our lemonade at kind of a little lemonade stand,” owner Ches DiDonato said.

But we’re not talking your average lemonade. It’s completely homemade, and has organic ingredients and some of the most interesting flavors you’ve likely ever seen.

“Organic strawberries, organic basil, fresh ginger, fresh jalapenos, culinary grade of rose or lavender,” said DiDonato. “We purchase our lavender out of Palisade, Colorado.”

For the last four years, DiDonato and his wife Lisa have been creating incredible lemonade. Now they’ve got a storefront.

“All the other businesses along North Tejon are wonderful,” DiDonato said. “They come and they’re gracious, wishing us the best of luck. There’s a great spirit of camaraderie in the downtown area.”

While downtown is always a hot spot for new businesses, culinary growth is happening in other areas too.

“We were looking for a spot downtown actually for quite a while and none of the spots were right,” said Philip Arana, one of the masterminds behind the success of the Wobbly Olive on Powers Boulevard.

Perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, he just opened The Collective on East Barnes Road.

“This is where the majority of people in this town live,” Arana said. “We have a great military presence and just people moving in the neighborhood.”

That’s why they’re striving for that hometown feel. Arana said what’s most exciting is seeing the city move toward a more localized bar and restaurant scene.

“Colorado Springs was a corporate sea,” said Arana. “It was the same corporate restaurants from Southgate and you had the same little bubble and then go north a little bit and you have the same little bubble. Now there’s this shift in the last couple of years and I think we’re on the doorstep of being like those bigger cities.”

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