Pueblo-based Solar Roast Coffee expands its conscientious footprint northward, taking over the spot that formerly housed Starbucks at 134 N. Tejon St. as of April 1.

“We’re doing this well down here, so we wanted to see how well we’d do up in the big city — test our wares,” says co-owner Mike Harktop, who predicts the transition will take roughly six weeks, and for doors to reopen mid-May. This is the third location for the solar power-roasted, all-organic coffees that are roasted at a lower temperature, which the company asserts results in a “smooth” taste.

The sustainability minded café also provides sustenance in the form of bagel sandwiches, using Olde World Bagels, a variety of fanciful, homemade cream cheese spreads, numerous vegan options and breakfast burritos that all incorporate local ingredients where possible.

Harktop says they’re “excited for the opportunity to branch out,” especially near other businesses that have Pueblo connections: Bingo Burger and To the Grave Tattoo.

Carbo load with your coffee. Photo credit: Solar Roast Coffee

Savor the flavor. Photo credit: Oscar’s Oyster Bar

A little further south, Oscar’s Oyster Bar at 333 S. Tejon St. is rebranding after 16 years, becoming Phil’s Midtown Grill, swapping Cajun cuisine for good ol’ all-American fare courtesy of Phil Duhon, owner and former executive chef.

“People have changed their habits, the way they dine, their social life in general,” says Duhon. “So we’re bringing it into 2020.”

Staple menu items will include sirloin steaks, classic cheeseburgers, mac ‘n cheese with bacon, bone-in pork chops and “old-school chicken wings” alongside a list of local craft beers, classic cocktails and a low- to no-alcohol drink menu.

“I don’t want to be a higher-end restaurant,” says Duhon. “I want to be a blue-jean-wearing, baseball cap, get a good steak at a good price kind of place.”

Duhon says the interior renovations that begin April 1 are “mostly cosmetic,” and he expects the space to be complete with “an all new motif, as a new venue” by month’s end. “I wanted to call it the ‘Midtown Grill’ because with all the growth going on [along Tejon Street], I’m kind of right in the center,” he says. “I’m just really excited about opening up the doors and getting a whole new generation of people coming through.”

*Header image courtesy of John Bueno; content first published in the Colorado Springs Independent on April 3, 2019.