Manitou’s Coquette hopes to expand into downtown

Business has exceeded expectations from the start at Coquette Bistro and Bakery in Manitou.

Delight Gluten-Free Magazine named Coquette Bistro and Bakery’s brunch among the five best gluten free brunches in the country.

But that’s just the icing on an already rich cake for the Manitou Springs eatery.

From possible national product deals to second locations and growing statewide and national notoriety, the restaurant seems to be on a roll.

“I’m really, really proud,” said co-owner Michelle Marx. “We’ve been getting some great things going recently.”

The restaurant has been around only three years. Marx and her daughter Turu Marx Eurich moved to Manitou from New York and Los Angeles, and they wanted to bring some metropolitan flair to their restaurant here.

When Marx was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance, the mother-daughter duo went all the way. Everything on the menu is gluten-free. They know for sure it is, because they don’t just make the food from scratch, they make the flour, too.

That’s what has drawn the business owners into conversations with national companies that might go into business with Marx and Eurich marketing their flour products.

“Of course, if we’re going to do that,” Marx said, “we need a place to do it.”

Marx said she couldn’t say more about a national product deal because the conversations are just starting and nothing is official. It could take more than a year for something to pan out, she said.

In the meantime, Coquette is bursting at the seams in its location at 915 Manitou Ave. Even if Coquette had a product deal tomorrow, there’s nowhere for Marx and Eurich to make their flour and baked goods.

They have been looking for a second location in downtown Colorado Springs for almost a year. They’ve tried for a couple places but so far they have been thwarted.

“I’m confident the right thing will work out,” Marx said. “And we’ll end up where we’re supposed to be.”

Marx said the business at the Manitou restaurant did suffer after the Waldo Canyon fire this summer, but it is starting to bounce back. Ever since it opened, Coquette has been busier and a bigger success than Marx or Eurich anticipated. Marx was shocked the restaurant was the first she knew of in a long family history of restaurant ownership that was profitable in its first year of business.

“We have people drive down from Denver to eat here,” she said.

And they have eight pages of e-mail addresses of people who want to know if Coquette ever opens a Denver location.

Marx says franchising might be in the restaurant’s future. But for now, they’re focusing on finding a second spot in downtown Colorado Springs.