Tex-Mex restaurant chain coming to northern Colorado Springs commercial center

Tex-Mex restaurant chain coming to northern Colorado Springs commercial center

A Tex-Mex restaurant chain is expanding its Colorado presence with a location in Colorado Springs.

Austin-based Chuy’s plans to open in spring 2019 in the Highlands at Briargate retail and commercial center, which is being developed southwest of Briargate Parkway and Chapel Hills Drive on the city’s far north side.

The Springs restaurant will be Chuy’s fourth in Colorado; it has locations in Lakewood and Westminster and will open a site in late June in the Denver Tech Center, the company said via email.

Founded in 1982, Chuy’s owns and operates 95 full-service restaurants in 19 states, according to the company’s website.

Chuy’s describes its menu as "authentic, made from scratch Tex-Mex inspired dishes," using family recipes from "Texas, New Mexico and Mexican border towns." Its restaurants offer an "eclectic and irreverent" atmosphere that varies from location to location.

In Colorado Springs, Chuy’s plans a 7,260-square-foot, free-standing restaurant with a 1,078-square-foot patio on the northeast corner of Highlands at Briargate, according to a company email. The full-service restaurant will employ about 170 people.

Asked to explain its interest in Colorado Springs, a Chuy’s email pointed to a summary of the city’s demographics, population growth, signature institutions such as the Air Force Academy and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and its strong tourism industry.

Chuy’s indicated it might consider more than one Springs restaurant.

"We are currently focused on the Highlands location, but know that Colorado Springs is a great market that could support more than one Chuy’s," the company said via email.

The Highlands at Briargate is being developed on nearly 43 acres, east of the campus of the Focus on the Family ministry. Focus and The Keith Corp., a North Carolina-based commercial real estate firm, formed a joint venture to develop the project.

Adding Chuy’s – a new-to-market restaurant – helps put a spotlight on the Highlands at Briargate, said Graeme Keith III of The Keith Corp.

"It was a huge get for us," Keith said. "They’re an awesome concept. First-to-market just speaks to the strength of our site and our location. In a lot of restaurant magazines and articles, Chuy’s is consistently listed as one of the top hottest new concepts. For us, it was great to get them."

Einstein Bros. Bagels and Caribou Coffee, along with a Verizon store, have opened at Highlands at Briargate. Smashburger and Basil & Barley, a local Neapolitan pizzeria, are scheduled to open in late summer, Keith said.

Other users coming to Highlands at Briargate will include the 40,000-square-foot Highlands Medical Group, the Legend Senior Living Center and Massage Heights, which offers massage and facials, among other services.

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Twitter: @richladen

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Melissa Shepherd