Andres and Tricia Velez, co-owners of Piglatin Cocina and Piglatin Food Truck, collaborate with Iron Bird Brewing Company to upgrade their current pizza program and present Iron Bird Pizza Kitchen. The brewery/taproom allows the Piglatin team to take over, making improvements to the crust and quality, as well as adding Latin inspired flavors and fusion menu items.

RMFR catches up with Andres Velez to find out what recipe alterations we can expect, why the Piglatin crew favors another location across town and to discuss his philosophy of “food for the people” and how that seamlessly translates in a distinctly different culinary direction.

“We are adding some of our own pie combinations, some new favorites,” says Velez. “A casual take on pizza classics. We’re not tying to be Napoletana, we’re just making pizza that’s not pretentious.”

Playful pies to spice up your next brewery pitstop.

Velez indicates that he has switched up the sauce recipe, but opts to keep the dough as is, choosing a variation in technique, “hand-tossing the pies to add more texture and color to the crust.”

“It adds air to the dough to create those nice bubbles as you’re pushing the center of the dough out to the edges,” explains Velez.

Put your hands in the air for fluffy, crunchy crusts.

The entirety of the menu is a concept in motion but he shares definite additions of: a Hawaiian pie with spam or ham, pineapple, nori, green and red onions with a Gochujang glaze; an anchovy, goat cheese and arugula pie; a lamb/sausage meatball sub; charcuterie boards; and an orzo or small grain pasta salad.

Iron Bird Pizza Kitchen taste tests some possible new menu additions.

With so much admiration already in Colorado Springs, for Piglatin plates, we consider why Velez wants to suddenly shift into pizza and more specifically, into this exact space?

“It’s a huge ass, turnkey location downtown with a a lot happening in that area,” states Velez. “You have Iron Bird, Loyal, The Bench, all those new restaurants and homes. It’s perfect. We couldn’t let anyone else take that spot.”

Ta-da. Velez experiments with the best of both worlds.

As it was in the past, pizza is available inside Iron Bird’s taproom (plus take-out and delivery options from Grub Hub and Door Dash) alongside their craft beers for the same beloved dining/drinking combo, although the adjoining side and Pizza Kitchen also plans to integrate their own full bar in the near future. There has been no cease in operations and with the change over already in full effect patrons can find a number of the previous pies for purchase as well as more bold and unique flavor profiles to roll out during the evolutionary transition.

“I want it to be quality pizza done simply,” says Velez. “There’s no reason to have 15 ingredients. It’s bread, sauce and cheese. It’s like Piglatin, just casual food, that feeds everybody.”

Group love.

Stay tuned for the RMFR podcast with Piglatin to drop this week with real talk from Andres and Tricia Velez about their approach to cooking, thoughts on the Colorado Springs food scene and information regarding Piglatin Cocina’s one year anniversary celebration on Saturday, January 27.

Find “pie-spiration” and updates @ironbirdpizzakitchen on Instagram

*All images courtesy of Pollinate Marketing