December 10, 2021 | OPINION | By Hank Bedingfield | Photo by Claire Bogart

“Food is the language of the universe, the table is what brings us together.”

From the mouth of Chef Ariel, slinging refined breakfast and lunch cuisine, Colorado-style, Garden of the Gods Market and Cafe is moving brunch one step further from millennial-memehood to Sunday, daytime dating restoration.

For almost 20 years since opening, the Colorado Springs community has taken notes, indulging in the baked goods, premade meals, and delicious sit-downs at this new-move Tejon location.

It’s worth noting here that now is the perfect time for Colorado College students and city residents to look for a new brunch spot. For those who have ever visited Urban Steam, which I’ve regrettably patronized, it is morally necessary.

In a recent story from the Colorado Springs Independent, covering the arrest of Urban Steam’s owner for two counts of unlawful sexual contact and one count of harassment, Kelly Bubach is revealed to be a groping, tyrannical drunk, epitomizing everything wrong with masculinity, the restaurant industry, and humanity. Anyone who has ever patronized this business, which sadly serves decent food and drink, should chase the moral righteousness of putting this Jabba The Hutt-archetype out of business.

On appearance, food, and messaging, the Market and Cafe couldn’t be more different. Its interior feels purgatory-esque and tranquil. Garage doors pull open on sunny days to flood the mostly white walls, tables, and decor with the Springs’ greatest asset. A sound bath of lo-fi beats are upbeat and calming, and the gentle chatter of the city’s finest — dressed in anything from a suit and tie to a tee and sneakers — makes for something wholly agreeable.

For the hungover or grumpy, a bar opposite the garage-lined wall is formidably stocked and staffed, offering mimosas — including a “Mimosa Flight” with varying juices that is such to itch whatever rabid need for an Instagram Story some possess — handcrafted cocktails, and a Bloody Mary that will raise a few hairs.

Photo courtesy of Claire Bogart

Though I don’t count myself in the flock of yoga-enthusiasts, wellness-preachers, or the general population of those who “take care of themselves,” a short menu of fresh squeezed juices on the GoG menu may actually be worth the $7. The “Green Goddess,” an infusion of honeydew melon, cucumber, apple, kale, mint and ginger, will even turn the most skeptical head.

In my already frequent trips — guiltlessly chasing the status of a regular and the flash of a knowing smile from the waitstaff — each meal exceeded the last. The chicken sandwich, an unorthodox addition to brunch that now feels perfect, is topped with kale slaw, chipotle aioli, house pickles, and tomato on a heavenly bun of brioche, and puts Chick Fil A, Popeyes, and the entire chicken war to rest.

Photo courtesy of Claire Bogart

The Huevos Rancheros, a delicious nod to celiacs and vegetarians (except with the addition of pork green chili), comes out in a personal-sized skillet, piping hot and daring an overeager bite. Layered carefully are corn tortillas, black beans, green chili, eggs, jack cheese, and pico de gallo. The experience makes for a delicious, fulfilling excavation.

Other brunch-time winners include Chicken and Biscuits (for those looking for the divine combination of Nashville hot and sausage gravy) and the Colorado Burger, but I’d be surprised if any meal is less than delicious.

For the hungover, the burnt-out, anyone depraved enough to be swiping through YikYak, or anyone dancing with the idea of dropping out, joining a commune, and leaving the world-as-we-know it all together, don’t underestimate the value of a good meal. Garden of the Gods Market and Cafe just might make you think twice.

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