By next summer, Sam Guadagnoli hopes that Gasoline Alley’s appearance will be much different, including a new lunch option for downtown workers.

The owner of downtown club Gasoline Alley plans to renovate it and add a grill with a walk-up window that will be open lunch through late night.

The remodel, planned to be finished by next summer, would move the stage away from the front of the club and put a casual restaurant with a walk-up window at the front of the building at 28 N. Tejon St., said City Planner Ryan Tefertiller.

Owner Sam Guadagnoli proposed the same casual dining concept in May, but for an expanded Gasoline Alley that would have occupied the building next door at 26 N. Tejon St. Guadagnoli had 26 N. Tejon under contract pending approval of his concept from the Downtown Review Board.

Guadagnoli abandoned the idea and walked away from the sale after several neighbors wrote to the Colorado Springs Planning Commission condemning the idea because they said it would expand the downtown bar scene, which they said was already more pervasive than they wanted.

While the expansion didn’t work out, Guadagnoli said he felt like adding a grill was a good idea anyway.

Tefertiller said the bar’s new configuration will close up a big garage door that opens onto Tejon Street and replace it with a small seating area and walk-up counter for grill customers.

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The restaurant, which will open during the day to offer another lunch option to nearby office workers and students, will stay open into the late hours of the night to serve bar patrons, Guadagnoli said.

Tefertiller said he made some notes on Guadagnoli’s application to modify his liquor license, the only approval needed before he can begin submitting plans to the building department.

“I determined it was a positive change and complies with downtown zoning,” Tefertiller said.

On Nov. 17, the Colorado Springs city clerk administratively approved the application to modify the liquor license for Gasoline Alley, said Lee McRae, a license enforcement officer for the clerk’s office.

“There wasn’t really a change,” McRae said. “He’s just rearranging things.”

The rearrangement is welcome news for neighbors, who say they fully support the change Guadagnoli is making.

“Are you kidding? We’ve been praying for something like this since they opened,” said Tim O’Donnell, who leads a group of downtown residents and neighbors. “This is much better. I think it’s a great accommodation.”

O’Donnell, who lives in the lofts a block north of Gasoline Alley, says the garage door and band stage on the sidewalk has meant noisy nights Thursday through Saturday.

“We’re downtown,” he said. “We obviously didn’t expect it to be quiet, but there was no getting around it. It was like the whole band was out on the sidewalk.”

In addition to alleviating some of the noise, O’Donnell said he’s excited about Guadagnoli’s change at Gasoline Alley because it will add a daytime use to a section of downtown that’s mostly closed during the day.

Guadagnoli says he expects he will wait until after the holidays to begin construction, but he would like to finish it by summer.


  1. In the mid-1980’s, Austin Texas found that it was a ‘one-trick pony’ town and that pony was the fact that the only real source of ‘primary jobs’ were state government jobs as it is the state capital and home base for the massive Univ of Texas educational machine.

    There was no industrial base – no manufacturing. It was not a regional transportation hub nor a retail distribution center. There was no sophisticated research and development center as Raleigh-Durham. The city was dying. Downtown was dead. A situation similar to that we find at the base of Pikes Peak. After all, most of the state government employees were lifelong government employees nearing retirement age, in their late 50’s. As such, us old folk are not prone to spending money on high dollar designer running shoes – we do not stand in line at 2 in the morning to buy the latest I-phone replacing the one we bought two months ago – nor, do we over-spend our incomes and generate sales tax revenues to support our city. We do tend get off work, channel surf for reruns of old Lawrence Welk shows and sit with a glass of warm milk, a tube of Ben-Gay, and possibly some Ex-Lax.

    When Austin civic leaders realized their city had tanked, they galvanized, formed the Arrow Group – and began to research ways they might re-invigorate their city. They worked had to identify their strong points and capitalize on those points and worked to reduce the impact of their shortcomings. One key to the revival was us hard-drinkin, hard-livin’ beer-drinking old country boys who loved our country music and chicks. And, they had Willie! The transformation of the downtown, at night, as a ‘country-music’ hub to equal that of Nashville proved to be the spur that drove the transformation of Austin. Just think of the PBS shows of “Austin City Limits”

    Perhaps what Sam and Kathy are doing – rather than something the old ex-lax downtown retailers complain about – – could be part of a new-wave of energy from the younger generation that could spur more activity at night in the downtown core – that would increase awareness that there actually IS a downtown, and start the process where the younger ‘let’s go spend some dollars’ crowd would begin to frequent during the day. After all, the downtown area offers a rash of really interesting shops, products and experiences that are available nowhere else in the community.

    And, we did, after all – send a team of local civics to see what works in Austin. Looks as if they brought back: warm milk. There is a wealth of energy in those of our younger generation that have not move away to find a job. That is a resource which could be tapped as part of the downtown re-invention process. After all, they have the money and more important, the energy to spend it!

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