Adam’s Mountain Café: A Home Away From Home

Wooden tables that sit underneath matching ceiling frames on a freshly waxed wooden floor, surrounded by scenic paintings by Rocky, a local Manitou Springs artist cause Adam’s Mountain Café to resemble a quaint winter cabin. This café does not resemble just any unfamiliar winter cabin though; rather, it resembles the type of winter cabin that you visit annually and spend all day in the kitchen baking cornbread and cookies with the family. The casual, comfortable vibe of Adam’s Mountain Café complements the fluidity of the service and the simple luxury of each item on the menu.

Photos by Daniel Sarché

Greg Adams was the first owner of the restaurant, hence the name. Mr. Adams and his wife opened the restaurant together in 1985 but only owned it for about a year and a half. Farley K. McDonough began waiting tables at the restaurant in 1991, during its second ownership, and 10 years later, she became the third and current owner of Adam’s Mountain Café.

The restaurant has been exceeding expectations since its opening. Initially, Adam’s Mountain was opened with the intention of being one of the only vegetarian restaurants in El Paso County, “which was completely unheard of 30 years ago,” said McDonough. “I mean that was nuts, right. It’s cow country.” The second owner emphasized organic food in 1985–1995, which was “way ahead of the curve,” McDonough continued. “Nobody was talking about organic, and she was pushing it.” In an age of chain restaurants and large-scale food industries, McDonough has intentionally remained in sync with a family-style, authentic, and casual dining operation.

“We honestly do make everything,” McDonough said. “We have cooks in the basement that literally all day are just pumping out these recipes. We don’t bring anything that’s premade except for coco milk and tomato products.” The menu offers an array of options I have yet to find at any other restaurant in Colorado Springs. With items ranging from Senegalese and Tibetan vegetable bowls to a vegetarian “small planet burger,” fresh “vegan pizza,” Baja style fish tacos, and the recommended, “Banh Mi Vietnamese Chicken Sandwich,” Adam’s Mountain Café has it all. The restaurant is also awarded “Best Huevos Rancheros in Colorado Springs” every year, “which is hilarious because it’s vegetarian.” McDonough said. “Like how do we keep winning that?”

Adam’s Mountain Café sees regular customers about 70 percent of the time, revealing their close connection to the Colorado Springs community. Even if this restaurant lacks the comfort of a family kitchen, the extreme variety of eating options gives customers plenty of incentive to revisit for a meal they have yet to experience. Unlike most other restaurants, Adam’s Mountain also serves breakfast until 3 p.m.

Not only is all of the food made fresh and in-house, but Adam’s Mountain Café also serves fresh Bloody Marys with homemade vegan Worcester sauce for a slow Sunday morning. They offer an array of affordable craft beers and unique wines that sit on display behind the bar. The beige-colored bar top holds a variety of natural sweetener supplements as well as flavorings such as dried rose petals, fermented cherries, and fresh honey that are pleasing both to the eye and to the palate.

If the enticing menu and casual company isn’t enough, this restaurant also hosts live music every Thursday evening and Friday morning. McDonough explained that when the restaurant first opened, hosting artists on Friday nights became too costly, so they began inviting bands to play Thursday night instead. This arrangement is unique, however, in the way in which the bands will leave their equipment set up once finished Thursday night. “We feed them dinner; they go home,” said McDonough, and then they return Friday morning to play another couple of sets through breakfast and brunch. “Come in Friday morning and have a little juice and jazz,” said McDonough.

“You walk in, and it just feels warm, you know,” junior Henry Lilian said. “You feel the warmth of the food, the warmth of the love, and the warmth of the home.” With items generously portioned and under $15, a restaurant owner who feels more like family by the end of the meal, and a calming atmosphere that seems to melt into the unique and delectable food, Adam’s Mountain Café feels even better than your kitchen back home.

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