Living inside the Colorado College bubble is easy and can become a rather monotonous day-to-day dining experience. If you are looking for a way to become more cultured and familiar with the offerings of Colorado Springs, consider visiting the Fine Arts Center for their pre-theatre dining.
Taste Restaurant, situated on the first floor across the hall from the Deco Lounge, opened in October. It has since been a popular spot for museum visitors, Fine Arts Center staff, and Colorado College faculty to have a fine dining experience before evening theatre performances on Fridays and Saturdays, or before matinee theatre performances on Sundays.
As of recently, visitors can now walk in without a reservation on Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. to enjoy lunch options such as a fresh Mediterranean salad, an andouille sausage soup, a vegan Mediterranean panini, or a wagyu beef burger. “The sesame-crusted ahi tuna steak with a seaweed salad is a favorite of the staff and one of the most popular meals ordered by guests,” said Austin Kumm, the Assistant General Manager of Bon Appétit, which took over service of Taste Restaurant in October.
Restaurant goers can choose to sit inside the main dining hall, which is decorated with large chandeliers, a variety of photographs and paintings, and large floor-to-ceiling windows, giving the restaurant warm, natural light. If the weather permits, guests can also sit on the quaint, tiled patio overlooking an expansive courtyard framed by Pikes Peak on the horizon.
According to Kumm, Taste Restaurant is a particular novelty due to the unique dinner menu that Executive Chef Jackie has created to match the themes of various main stage theatre productions. “Intimate Apparel,” a past theatre production, has inspired specialty cocktails such as “Smoke and Mirrors,” “The Seamstress,” and “The Big Apple,” and main courses such as seared sea scallops, goat cheese risotto, Colorado lamb, braised short ribs, and cassoulet. All of the aforementioned entrées were also influenced by Chef Jackie’s favorite dishes throughout her culinary career. “Even though the menu can be a bit pricey, the more affordable lunch plates and casual Friday walk-in times make it more accessible to Colorado College students, and definitely makes Taste Restaurant a place I need to try out soon,” said Zoe Zwecker ’21.
As of March 2, “Androcles and the Lion,” a popular children’s play, will be an ongoing production at the Fine Arts Center, and starting March 29, “Fun Home,” a winner of multiple 2015 Tony Awards, will be showing. Other upcoming performances for which select pre-theatre dining at Taste Restaurant is available through reservation include “Fully Committed” on April 27, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” on May 24, and “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” on June 29. Students are able to purchase tickets in advance for $20, or at a discounted price of $15 during the day of the performance if seats are available. “I would definitely consider attending ‘Fun Home,” Grace Westlin ’21 said. “It’s a relatively new show, so I haven’t been able to see it yet. But I have listened to the soundtrack, and it is amazing.”
The Fine Arts Center, located south of Worner on North Cascade Avenue, is home to constantly shifting exhibitions and theatre performances, and as of recently, a wonderful fine dining restaurant. If you’re feeling fancy, consider attending a theatre production or eating at Taste Restaurant in the Fine Arts Center, where fine art and fine dining go hand-in-hand.