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Owner of 3 OCC eateries, long-time chef enjoys cuisine 'incubator' opportunities

Dec. 21, 2017
       Retired Air Force officer Dave Brackett opened Pizzeria Rustica at 2527 W. Colorado Ave. in 2008. Styled after restaurants in Italy and with indoor-outdoor seating for up to 100 diners, it would prove to be the first of three European-oriented locales he's had a hand in for that part of Old Colorado City.
       In 2010, there was Tapateria (Spanish-themed, with indoor-outdoor seating for 65) half a block away at 2607 W. Colorado Ave.; followed two years
Shortly before the day's opening, Chef Jay Gust stands inside Tapateria, one of three dining establishments he owns in Old Colorado City.
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ago by Enoteca (a wine bar, with space available to private groups and room overall for 45 people), upstairs from Rustica and using its kitchen.
       Long-time area chef Jay Gust, who joined Brackett in starting Enoteca (the name means “wine store” in Italian), recently became owner of all three businesses.
       “Dave's retirement plan became my ownership plan,” Gust quipped in a recent interview. The different restaurants are like “incubators for having fun with cuisine,” he summarized.
       Gust hails from Wisconsin, migrating to Colorado Springs in the mid-'90s because he “wanted to be a professional snowboarder,” he laughed. “Instead, I became a professional dishwasher.”
       But that exposure sparked an interest in cooking. He worked his way up to chef while employed at such downtown spots as the Ritz, Doubletree, Southside Johnny's and Jose Muldoon's.
       He started working with Brackett in 2012.
       Brackett said he's enjoying having more free time, part of which he's spending as a volunteer with SCORE, which provides consulting for business entrepreneurs. In 2017 he also became the president of the Old Colorado City Foundation, a charitable arm of the Old Colorado Associates business group, which plans events to raise money for the historic business district.
       Pizzeria Rustica is open daily; the phone is 632-8121.
       Tapateria is also open daily; the phone is 471-8272.
       Enoteca is open Thursday to Saturday (evenings only). The Rustica phone can be used. For catering and other information, e-mail info@pizzarustica.com.

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