Playful and energetic, the coati (pronounced ko-ah-tee) is a small, racoon-like animal from South America, and it is the perfect mascot for Colorado Springs’ first-ever food hall and culinary incubator.
Located in the Trolley District’s newly approved entertainment neighborhood on South Tejon, this 13,000-square-foot space with towering skylights, exposed brick, and a funky neon–industrial look is taking the Springs culinary scene by storm.
Aaron Ewton, owner of the Atlas Restaurant Group and principal owner of CO.A.T.I, is a true visionary. “We’re not just another food hall,” he says. “We are an incubator for creatives in Colorado Springs, and that extends from culinary and cocktails to art and music.”
CO.A.T.I welcomes established restaurants as well as start-ups. For up-and-coming chefs, CO.A.T.I is a dream hatchery. Instead of committing to the expense of opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant, chefs can test their concept by leasing a fully equipped kitchen pod with its own area for preparation and cooking and lots of help from a team of trained professionals. “If somebody comes in with talent and just a few dollars in their pocket, they can have an opportunity for success,” Ewton says.
In addition to offering unique and creative food and drink options, CO.A.T.I is, at its heart, event-driven. “Wherever we can provide some kind of service to the community—whether it’s entertainment and arts or activity and fitness—we strive to do it without attaching a price tag,” Ewton says. “Our goal is to have experiential happenings every day.” From hip-hop yoga and saxophone battles to 3-D live art and performers on stilts, the sky’s the limit. CO.A.T.I is all about celebration with a sense of playfulness, creativity, innovation, and fun.
Here are just a few of CO.A.T.I’s restaurant vendors:
Angu takes Korean street eats to a new level. Chef Andres Valdez, of PigLatin Cocina fame, wants to create food for all the different moments in your life, and he has succeeded. From cheesy fried chicken wings to spicy duck kimchi ramen, the choices seem endless. The ever-popular BibimBowl is a crowd favorite. This Korean rice dish, topped with sweet Korean BBQ, mad veggies, cabbage kimchi, BibimBowl sauce, and gochujang butter, is simply irresistible.
Fine dining in a food hall? You bet! Chefs Ian Dedrickson and Adam Ridens began their journey in 2018 with a series of multisensory pop-up dinners. Today, Ephemera is offering the ultimate culinary experience. A constantly changing, seven-course chef’s tasting menu is masterfully prepared and exquisitely presented. À la carte options and Sunday brunch are also available. Check out ephemeradinners.com to book reservations.
Want some soul with your seafood? Luchal’s has it all, from catfish po’boys to crispy shrimp baskets with crabalicious crab fries. And don’t forget the juicy wings served with your choice of sauces, from honey garlic to smoking BBQ. If you like your mac ’n’ cheese rich and gooey, you’ll be in pasta heaven. Retired U.S. Army Chef Luchal Lucas prides herself on excellent customer service and great-tasting food. After one bite, you’ll be a believer.
Rival Bar promises curious cocktails and lives up to its pledge. In addition to your favorite wines and spirits, you can take a walk on the wild side with some creative craft concoctions. Comforting beverages, such as the Little John, a brown butter and sage hot toddy with a splash of bourbon and a squeeze of lemon, are perfect for a cold winter’s day, and the frothy Home Front, with dry Curaçao, tawny Port, brandy, egg white, and sugar, is guaranteed to warm your bones.
If you’re longing for some lagers, you’re in luck, and you won’t have to trudge through the snow. The Pikes Peak Brewing Lager House is connected to the food hall just steps away.
Cold and flu season got you down? Hurry over to Two Suns for some super tasty, superfood smoothies, soups, hot beverages, bowls, and more. Thoughtfully created by Nissa Buth of Ola’s Juice Bar, her offerings are packed with immunity-boosting nutrients, flavor, and a touch of mischief. To ward away the sniffles, try the Passion Bowl, which is chock-full of turmeric, cayenne, orange juice, mango, and strawberries. For cold-fighting power, choose the Immunitea, with ginger, lemon, honey, turmeric, cayenne, and cinnamon.
Craving some late-night sweet treats? Visit XOXO. Pastry chefs Erica Wetzel and Colby Schaffer, formerly of The Broadmoor, bring passion and style to their showstopping, jaw-dropping, decadent desserts. With offerings such as s’more cakes, chocolate tarts, dessert cheese boards, and gelato, XOXO is the perfect place to surprise your sweetheart and uplift your spirits while getting down with some top-notch entertainment.