Hospitality and Homemade Food in Fountain, CO: Stella’s

People sometimes complain that Colorado Springs doesn’t have any locally owned restaurants.  Readers at Hungry Chicken Homestead know that isn’t true, but I admit to having wondered about Fountain, CO.

“Do you know of any locally owned restaurants around here?”, I’ll ask whenever I’m in that part of town.

“Well,” the recipient of my question will answer slowly.  ”There’s Dad’s Kwik Inn and Coke’s Diner.”

Yesterday, a friend suggested meeting at Toros Mexican Grill for breakfast, but when we got there, we discovered they only serve breakfast on the weekend.

“What now?”, I asked.

I’ve been to Coke’s and didn’t know where Dad’s was, so we drove around looking for it.  Eventually, we found ourselves parked at a 7-11 on the south side of town, trying to get our phones to tell us where to eat.

“Hey,” said my companion, pointing at a building behind the convenience store.  ”What’s that?”

We drove over to the long building with a handwritten sign for 99 cent tacos in front.  Sure enough, they were open.

The exterior is unassuming and inside it was clean and simple.

We had come in at a quiet time and the waitress had time to talk to us.  Stella’s opened about three months ago at 412 Royalty Place.  It’s a family restaurant, run by our friendly server’s mother.

“Does your mom make all the food?”, I asked.

She doesn’t.  Other family members also work in the kitchen making green chili, guacamole and other items from scratch.

This is the “Pueblo Omelet”. The house made guacamole tasted smoky and wonderful.

“Do you want white or wheat toast with that omelet?”, our server asked.

I explained that I didn’t want toast.  She offered a biscuit.  Again, I declined.

“Well,” she said thoughtfully, “How about a sopapilla?”

I couldn’t say no.

I asked for it without sugar, so here are the naked sopapillas. I ate them with al ittle salt.

Of all our experiences during our morning at Stella’s, their hospitality left the strongest impression.  Our server also brought me a sample of their green chili, simply because I said I don’t usually like it.

This glossy green chili tasted savory and warm. I ate the whole dish!

I liked it enough to order a cup to go and my companion ordered an enchilada smothered in it.

My sample had mild anaheim chiles in it, but my friend ordered hers with spicier chiles. She said it had just the right amount of heat and eventually pushed aside the tortilla so she’d have enough room to eat the chili.

We chatted with Stella for a few minutes on the way out.  When I asked what made her want to open a restaurant, she made a joke about being a “glutton for punishment”, but she could have truthfully said she wanted to share her homemade recipes with the public.

Or she could have talked about hospitality.  Her family’s heart is as big as its green chili is delicious.

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Note:  Stella’s is looking for volunteers to help with a Thanksgiving dinner for members of the military who have nowhere to go for the holiday.  Contact them at 719-382-4846 to volunteer!
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