Lyman Anderson came to the Springs from D.C. to work at the Cliff House restaurant more than 20 years ago. Since then, he’s done stints at Meadow Muffins (now Mother Muff’s), The Briarhurst and The Townhouse. He was there when the restaurant space next door became available, so he took the leap and opened Persephone Grae’s this past June.
If You Go
819 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, facebook.com/PersephoneGraesCafe
Named for his daughter, the eatery’s tucked into the bottom floor of the Barker House apartments. There’s plenty of room inside, but with favorable weather the place to be is the deep, covered patio that allows you to watch Manitou life flow by as you enjoy a delicious breakfast or lunch. Open at 7 a.m. daily, Persephone Grae’s serves until 4 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, but closes at 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Those hours are a bit odd in that it’s not late enough to accommodate dinner, and past most people’s lunch time — but hey, keep Manitou weird, people.
Anyway, first I try the Pig in a Basket, wherein the eatery embeds a patty of mild but flavorful breakfast sausage from Monument-based Sara’s Sausage in the middle of a thick slice of white/sourdough bread (also sourced locally, says Anderson), which then gets a the French toast treatment. It’s good, but could be better with a drizzle of maple syrup. Or perhaps some of the house’s candied jalapeño cranberry sauce. That sauce — which would be even better if the heat from the jalapeño was given a little more prominence — makes a starring appearance in The Manitou Gobbler, a hot sandwich layering roasted turkey breast, crispy bacon and provolone cheese. The grilled bread and the bacon add a nice crispy note that complements the cranberry sauce’s brightness and sweetness, while the gooey cheese holds it all together.
From the cold sandwich selections, The Ruxton challenges my manual dexterity. A split hoagie roll holds fresh, crispy greens, sliced tomatoes, thinly sliced onion, avocado and cucumber wheels. So far, so good. There’s also a layer of shredded pickled carrot and marinated chickpeas. The marinade adds a nice, tart tang to the legumes, adding to the sweet/acid balance of the balsamic vinaigrette. Though the flavors come together beautifully, the difficult-to-wrangle chickpeas roll off my sandwich and bounce across my plate, making for a slightly unruly bite. There are several more breakfast and sandwich options to try, as well as salads and wraps. And though “juice bar” is in the name, there’s little focus on those. Local, gluten-free options from Outside the Breadbox are available too.