Monday, January 22, 2007

Dining critic candidate No. 18

The Loop
Whether it is Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter there is something for everyone at The Loop in Manitou Springs. I can think of no better way to take the chill of a cold winters evening than to walk into this adobe style building. Seeing the crackling fireplaces, the aroma of sizzling platters of vegetables and fajita steak swirling in the air warms frozen fingers and toes immediately.
The Loop has been a Manitou Springs staple since it’s establishment in 1903. While originally serving wild game, the Loop has now received numerous awards for their fine Mexican food and delicious margaritas. “The Loop” refers to the old trolley that used to run from Colorado Springs through Manitou. This is a casual, family friendly atmosphere with all the eccentricities of Manitou Springs. Reservations are not required, however are available for larger parties. Peak season for The Loop is during the spring and summer tourist season and it is busiest during the dinner rush from 6:00 - 7:30. Lunch is always a nice option for optimal service and seating.
With an extensive menu ranging from Baja Seafood , Burgers, Salads, to traditional Mexican food you are sure to find something to wet your appetite. For those with special dietary needs there is a small selection of Vegan options as well as a children’s menu. There is a full service bar available with an adequate liquor and beer selection as well as a limited wine selection. The Loop specializes in their famous gigantic margaritas served in recycled Coke bottle glasses. Surely they are nothing short of a fish bowl ( there are smaller sizes available for the faint of heart). Prices range from $4.00 -$20.00 on alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages.
The house specialties include slow roasted meats (chicken, garlic beef, or shredded beef), SPICY chili verde, and the Mexican BBQ sauce known as Mole. The seafood dishes are reminiscent of the lobster farms off the coast of Rosarita, Mexico. You will be served tortilla chips and the fresh salsa immediately before placing your drink order. The salsa is freshly diced vegetables with a healthy dose of cilantro. For the daring I highly recommend the Silver Loop Margarita that is a blend of Sauza Especial And Cointreau. The taste is very refreshing with a subtle tang. For those cheese lovers The Chile Con Queso is an almost religious experience. A thick creamy cheese dip mildly spiced with green chilies served with tortilla chips. Next I tried the very staple of Mexico, the Pollo Mole Poblano. In other words this would be two soft corn enchiladas stuffed with the hand roasted chicken and smothered with the mole sauce. This sauce is made from 16 different herbs and spices and has a robust yet sweet flavor that blends nicely with the savory chicken. Most dishes are served with a side of refried beans and Spanish rice which are good but uneventful. To top off the evening try the cinnamon and sugar dough puff known the world over as the Sopapilla. This dough puff is sent straight from heaven and meant to be smothered in honey and sent right to your hips. The price range for all food including appetizers, entrees, a la carte, and dessert is $4.95 - $14.95.
As for the eclectic nature of Manitou so can be described the service at The Loop. As I mentioned, the Loop can be very busy during dinner and you may not get served quite as promptly as normal. With the more people that are confined in a small space, the louder it also becomes. All in all I will continue to patronize The Loop and consider it to be one Hot Tamale!
The Loop
719-685-9344
965 Manitou Ave.
Manitou Springs, CO 80829
www.theloopatmanitou.com

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crisp, perfect account of the charm of Manitou and the "Loop". My parents dined at the "Loop" and then danced on the tiny dance floor in the 50's. Even tho the dance floor is a lovely memory of the past, the "Loop" still has all it's original charm and ambiance for our family and friends. The food and drinks are fabulous and the whole experience is timeless. Can't wait to go again after reading this wonderful reminder! Worth the trip! Yum, Yum!

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well captured! I haven't been to the loop in years and had forgotten about the cheese queso! Also didn't remember the seafood options. Can't wait to go!

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live out east with the rest of the newbies but based on your insightful description of the "Loop", I am looking forward to trying something new and "non-chain". Appreciate the tip on avoding the busy times!

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Submission Reviewer said...

Excellent description of the food and atmosphere, but woefully inadequate of the service and hours. Pricing and location well-covered.

Unfortunately, a great portion of the review reads just like the literature from The Loop. It was refreshing to see at least a few sentences about the writers personal experience there.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Warren Epstein said...

FYI. "submission reviewer" is not associated with the Gazette.

10:20 AM  

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