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Cuisine from El Salvador featured in just-opened Old Colorado City restaurant

Feb. 9, 2018
       Tim Hines, a major in the U.S. Army, met his future wife Monse, a native of El Salvador, when he was stationed in Germany and she was in a program to learn the language there.
Pupuseria owners Tim and Monse Hines stand at left in the restaurant kitchen while (at right) employee Griselda Rodas displays an order she's about to take out to the dining area. The restaurant just opened in Old Colorado City.
Westside Pioneer photo

       It's the El Salvador part that people in Old Colorado City are discovering. Featuring recipes from Monse's hometown of Chauchua, El Salvador, her Pupuseria restaurant opened in January.
       The address is 115 S. 25th St., with indoor seating for about 40 people, plus an outdoor patio for another 100. The menu features pupusas - a traditional fresh-food Salvadoran dish wrapped in a thick tortilla - and other offerings indigenous to her homeland.
       Located in a one-story building at the northeast corner of Cucharras and 25th streets, the eatery's front door (on the building's east side) can be accessed from Cucharras or the adjacent public parking lot.
       Tim and Monse have been together for 13 years. In his military career (which has lasted 21 years in all, and he's still on active duty), “I've dragged her all over the world,” he joked.
       Their entrepreneurship started seven years ago, marketing Monse's pupusas at farmers markets and (through wholesale distributors) groceries around the state under the name Monse's Taste of El Salvador.
       Much of her cooking has occurred in Old Colorado City. This experience included involvement with Gotta Love It Kitchen, an effort by local cooks, bakers and farmers.
       More recently, Taste of El Salvador was sharing the kitchen at 115 S. 25th with Food Designers, a catering business for more than 30 years. For about five years, the Darrigans, the business' most recent owners, had also run a jazz club, Motif, which has since relocated to the Cheyenne area.
       When Food Designers left the 2,700 square-foot building at the end of 2017, it created an opportunity for Tim and Monse to open what may be the first Salvadoran-specializing restaurant in Colorado Springs.
       “We were growing out of our space,” Tim summarized. “We thought, 'Let's go for it.'”
       The former Motif floor area and patio are where the restaurant is laid out; however, the couple lease the entire building. The kitchen is shared with Sweet Elizabeth Organic Bakery, owned by Elizabeth Durham. She subleases the space on the west side of the building, which has a storefront facing onto 25th Street.
       “The local support of friends, neighbors, local businesses, markets and various other community events, has given us confidence that we are ready to take the next step and expand our operations into a local restaurant,” Tim and Monse wrote in a Facebook post at the start of the year. “2018 will be an eventful year, to say the least.”
       Monse's Pupuseria (as well as Sweet Elizabeth) are open Wednesdays to Saturdays. The phone is 473-0877.

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