Front Range BBQ nearly done with work on outdoor/indoor area

       Front Range Barbeque is nearing the end of a multi-year saga that has added seating, a stage, built-in dart boards, a mural and other amenities... and mostly enclosed a once-unused outdoor space beside the restaurant at 2330 W. Colorado Ave.

Backed by a recently completed mural in the now-mostly enclosed outdoor dining/live music area, Front Range Barbeque owner Brian Fortinberry (second from right), joins some of his workers for a toast on the stage. From left are Tom Cox, Kelli Green, Jesse Galvan, Anne Thorsen, Fortinberry and Skye Lewis.
Westside Pioneer photo

       The space, which can seat 60 people or have fewer folk and leave room for dancing, is likely to get some use Saturday night, Nov. 13, when Front Range will celebrate its 11th birthday, featuring musician John-Alex Mason at 8 p.m. The public is welcome.
       As for the winter ahead, with a covered roof, heaters, windows and tarps on two sides that can be raised or lowered depending on the temperatures, the weather at last won't be a factor in the side space, according to Front Range owner/founder Brian Fortinberry. “We can keep it pretty comfortable,” he said. “So people shouldn't be afraid to come out when it's cold. We'll still be here partying.”
       The development of the outdoor area into a mostly indoor area area was sparked by a desire to enhance the restaurant's live music offerings, Fortinberrry explained. The new area allows larger crowds, which helps lure quality bands to Front Range. Another attraction to travelling bands is a recently added house sound system. Bands on the road often can't afford to haul such equipment from town to town, he said.
       When Front Range started offering music in 2002, musicians initially played inside the restaurant (which is actually a converted 1928 house), but that eliminated some diner seating and felt cramped at times, Fortinberry said. Now, live-music enthusiasts can sit at tables near the band (beware though - there's sometimes a waiting list) while those who prefer background music can have a quiet dinner inside, he explained.
       The outside area has a few air openings - intentional, to avoid stuffiness - where stray leaves or snowflakes may sneak in, but any actual water is captured in a gutter system, Fortinberry said. He also insulated the two walls nearest the stage to reduce the sound between Front Range and the neighborhood north of Pikes Peak Avenue and the neighboring Cucuru restaurant/ gallery, which has live music of its own.
       The mural was created by Colorado Springs artist Ceil Horowitz, with help from Cathy Kantor, who also works at Front Range. It takes up the two walls in back of the stage and includes the wood doors enclosing the two built-in dart boards.

The main Front Range Barbeque restaurant at 2330 W. Colorado Ave. can be seen on the right, while on the left is the mostly enclosed outside area just to the west of it where the bands play. The entrance is through the main building. A new cover will be coming in the near future for the enclosed area, according to owner Brian Fortinberry.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Local people were involved in other enhancements too. As examples, Fortinberry pointed to the handmade tables, benches and pillars. Skye Lewis, the drummer in a local band, was found painting stain on the new windows' frames during a recent visit.
       Overall, Fortinberry described the layout as “a New Orleans meets Colorado scene.”

Westside Pioneer article