photo - The Atomic Cowboy bar and restaurants Denver Biscuit Co. and Fat Sully's Pizza - a family of popular Denver establishments under one ownership - will take over the former Southside Johnny's space at 528 S. Tejon St. on the south edge of downtown Colorado Springs. (Facebook, Denver Biscuit Co.)
The Atomic Cowboy bar and restaurants Denver Biscuit Co. and Fat Sully's Pizza - a family of popular Denver establishments under one ownership - will take over the former Southside Johnny's space at 528 S. Tejon St. on the south edge of downtown Colorado Springs. (Facebook, Denver Biscuit Co.) 

Another popular Denver-area restaurant, bar and entertainment concept is expanding to Colorado Springs.

The Atomic Cowboy bar, with sister restaurants Denver Biscuit Co. and Fat Sully's Pizza, will take over the former Southside Johnny's space at 528 S. Tejon St. on the south edge of downtown.

Denver Biscuit is open for breakfast and lunch, and Fat Sully's serves New York-style pizza from lunch until closing. The three operate under one roof from 8 a.m. until 2 a.m.

"It feels like three different concepts when you come in, but it's in one building," said owner Drew Shader, who also operates three Atomic Cowboys in Denver.

Shader said he's looked for a few years to bring his concept to the right location in Colorado Springs. The 9,200-square-foot former Southside Johnny's space fit that description, he said; the building on South Tejon was a trolley car barn before the 1930s, and he liked its architecture and character.

The Atomic Cowboy bar and restaurants Denver Biscuit Co. and Fat Sully's Pizza - a family of popular Denver establishments under one ownership - will take over the former Southside Johnny's space at 528 S. Tejon St. on the south edge of downtown Colorado Springs. (Facebook, Atomic Cowboy) 

"I think the area is really ready for some more great restaurants, some proven concepts here from Denver," Shader said. "It's a great city. The demographics are outstanding. That South Tejon area in the next number of years is really going to be a really cool area. It's beautiful. It's super underrated."

Shader and Joe Niebur of Springs-based Niebur Development, are partners in the purchase of the Southside Johnny's space.

Niebur also is buying much of the rest of the block on the west side of Tejon Street, home to McCabe's Tavern, the Coffee Exchange, Years Ahead Salon and Computer Resources; he plans to redevelop that property and hopes existing tenants will stay. Niebur owns another portion of the block facing Cascade Avenue.

The new owners will make major changes to the Southside Johnny's space.

Shader and Niebur will work with Ryan Lloyd of Springs-based Echo Architecture to gut and remodel the space to accommodate Atomic Cowboy, Denver Biscuit and Fat Sully's.

They also plan a 2,500-square-foot addition on the building's south side, taking over part of a parking lot. The expanded space will include a rooftop deck for dining, drinking and outdoor music.

Atomic Cowboy will occupy a little more than half of the building, and Shader said he's working to bring two to three more familiar, well-established Denver restaurants for the rest. He's targeting a spring 2018 opening for all of the eateries.

The rest of the surface parking lot behind the expanded building will be converted into an outdoor patio and open space that will take advantage of mountain views and southern exposures, Niebur said.

Atomic Cowboy joins Denver-based ViewHouse, which is opening a massive sports bar and restaurant on the Springs' north side, east of Interstate 25 and Woodmen Road.

Oskar Blues, the Longmont-based restaurant, craft beer brewer and music venue, is moving into the former Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom space at 118 N. Tejon St.

The addition of Atomic Cowboy, meanwhile, continues to inject new life into the South Tejon corridor and downtown's south side. In recent years, the area has become home to Fieldhouse Brewing Co., Blue Dot Place apartments and Iron Bird Brewing Co.

Coquette's Bistro & Bakery plans to open this month on South Tejon, moving from North Tejon.

"There's a lot happening throughout downtown, but we're certainly seeing kind of a new center of energy that's developing on the south side," said Sarah Humbargar, the Downtown Partnership's business development and economic vitality director.

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Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228

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