Catching up on holiday news, Lucha Cantina, the first restaurant to occupy the former Olive Branch on Tejon Street, closed at the end of the year.

Its replacement, slated to soft-open this weekend and rollout fully next week, is Red Gravy, an upscale Italian eatery helmed by former Colorado Mountain Brewery chef Eric Brenner.

Talking to the Colorado Springs Independent, Brenner says, “We’re gonna start very simple and accessible. We’ll play to the crowd and start a dialogue, then grow the menu with community input.”

That dialogue will begin with entrées like tomato bisque, a Caesar salad that swaps calamari for croutons, butternut squash ravioli under balsamic brown butter, and thin-crust pizza. A bakery downstairs will provide the opportunity to make pasta, pizza dough, desserts and bread in-house.

Talking to the Gazette, Brenner says, “The concept is simply to offer upscale casual modern Italian food that is fast, hot and a great value. I will be highlighting some of my signature dishes like the tomato bisque that I won Guy’s Grocery Games with. We will utilize the bakery to make our desserts, bread, and hand-made pastas. I will use my experience to offer gluten-free options for our pizza dough, pasta and breads.”

Adds the Indy’s Matthew Schniper: “Red Gravy will also host a ‘really accessible’ wine list, five local beer taps and classic and modern cocktails. Brenner says the decor of hardwoods, high ceilings and exposed brick need not change to feel Italian. …”

The space is coming together!

A photo posted by Red Gravy (@redgravyco) on