Led by local restaurateur Russ Ware, together with Colorado based Simpatico Hospitality, The Well is designed as a place for community to meet, collaborate, celebrate, recreate and relax in an elevated yet accessible downtown setting.
“It starts with the central bar,” Ware says. “Gift Horse is the anchor of the space. It has this beautiful, big, curving front bar. I don’t know that there’s anything else like it in town. There’s certainly nothing like it downtown. It goes both directions to the outdoor patio and to the inside. And food-wise, there’s great variety among our selection of four vendors. It’s all accessible. There’s always going to be something new to try.”
The project is rooted in the new Philanthropy Collective, which opened January 2022 in the east side of the renovated 1907 building. As a consortium of philanthropic organizations and individuals, the Philanthropy Collective is designed to provide a synergistic space to collaborate and leverage resources collectively to address challenges in the Pikes Peak region.
“They really believed in the value and the community development aspect of having an adjacent, public-facing food and beverage component that would serve the community as a gathering spot, and really advance what’s going on downtown,” Ware says. “I thought that that type of unique genesis was really compelling.”
The Well will seek to incubate local businesses and attract local and international chefs and restaurant concepts to provide diverse food selections. The inaugural vendor lineup includes restaurant operators from Minneapolis and Chicago, as well as Golden, Colorado, and Colorado Springs. Vendor concepts include a Chicago Italian deli, elevated American fare, Korean and Asian-inspired street eats, and authentic Mexican comfort food with menu highlights like posole and barbacoa.
“It’s an incubator, but it’s an incubator for experienced people doing something different, more than brand new people,” Ware says. “We think that lends to a greater likelihood that we’re going to have vendors who stick around for a little while.”
He points to the ownership team behind 503W, who will be opening Dun Sun at The Well. “This is an opportunity for them to kind of pilot and experiment with a slightly different concept without having to bite off a whole other restaurant,” Ware says.
“I think it’s remarkable how different the three are,” Ware says when asked how The Well fits into the food hall scene. “Tejon Eatery really has that kind of old-school — I hesitate to say dive bar, but I can’t think of a better word. And CO.A.T.I has that super urban chic cool factor with that old building. With The Well, we definitely have some of that feel too, but it’s a little more finished. It’s a little cleaner, a little more chic, a little less urban. It’s still very accessible.”
With an Art Deco facade, the building housing The Well and The Philanthropy Collective has been home to businesses including an auto repair shop and a bus depot through the decades. Current renovation designs are being done by local firm Echo Architecture + Interiors andWestside Designworks.
Ware says The Well is scheduled to open by the end of March 2022.
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The Restaurants of The Well
Here is a list of the opening lineup of restaurants at The Well, with descriptions provided from a press release:
Created and operated by: The team behind 503W
Dun Sun brings a contemporary twist to Asian fusion cuisine. This fast-casual and Asian-inspired street eats concept features a unique array of high-quality ingredients in their signature tacos, bowls, and sandwiches. Dun Sun is quality “dun” right, where you can revel in the flavors of the local community.
Family-owned and natively cultivated, Dun Sun’s owners established themselves in the Colorado Springs scene in 2013 with their restaurant 503W. Offering a fresh perspective on the way people eat, drink and interact, along with family recipes and experiences from places lived, Dun Sun presents unique flavor profiles with a consistency that rises above.
Created and operated by: Israel Fernandez, Wil Bravo
Kumbala was brought to life by two long-time friends who wanted to make barbacoa and pozole an everyday item on their menu. With beginnings in Chicago, Kumbala brings the people of Colorado Springs a delicious menu that all lovers of authentic Mexican fare will enjoy.
Specializing in barbacoa and pozole, Kumbala showcases authentic Mexican fare and comfort food. Traditionally reserved for weekends and special occasions, Kumbala makes barbacoa and their reimagined pozole daily! — alongside dope tacos and more. All menu items are made to order with freshly prepared ingredients, and every item is gluten free.
Created and operated by: Noah Heaney, Ryan Gorby
Built on honest, real, good food rooted in Midwestern sensibilities, Noble Burger offers a reliable burger in an uncertain world. Created by friends Noah, Chelsea, Ryan, Jordan and Abe, and named after Noah’s son, Noble Burger’s inspired menu showcases classic American fare from Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as new interpretations of standard sandwiches, sides and burgers. The menu features the namesake, “Noble Burger,” made with two 3-ounce patties, cheese, house pickles, a potato bun and Noble Sauce. Other highlights include: candied pork belly, “No Bull” meatless burgers, signature shakes and sides.
Red Star Deli & Subs
Created and operated by: Israel Fernandez, Wil Bravo
Red Star Deli & Subs brings chef-inspired, deli-style sandwiches to the heart of Colorado Springs. Named after the iconic Red Star emblazoned on the Chicago flag, the concept emulates the flavors and feel of a Chicago sub shop. Subs are made to order with the finest meats, cheeses and ingredients available. Red Star brings guests a unique selection of sandwiches, salads and charcuterie options — with flavors from all corners of the country, and a hint of Chicago inspiration. A thoughtfully curated selection of sides make the menu complete, and if you’re in a hurry, Red Star offers convenient grab-and-go salads and sammies as well.
Gift Horse Bar & Cafe
Created and operated by: Simpatico Hospitality
As the anchor concept within the space, you’ll find Gift Horse Bar & Cafe, an all-day concept offering a full range of coffee and tea selections, baked goods and pouring a full bar from daybreak to sundown and beyond. Gift Horse Bar & Cafe will direct its focus toward a robust multi-roaster coffee program while incorporating both coffee and tea into a beverage concept that leans into low-ABV cocktail options, forgotten classics and daily happy hour specials with an emphasis on “remarkably decent” service.