food and beverage underground

Hondos: Not just another sports bar

by Chicks
(Colorado Springs)

told helmet and all

told helmet and all

The thing about boats is that no matter what kind of crew it has, the Captain has to steer it true, or the boats ultimately lost...sometimes doomed. Hondos has two Captains...and both steer it with care and a proficiency that is astounding to behold.

The Senior Captain, Ronni Lekics may not know it...but she completely blindsides people. She can't be more than 5'3'' and I'll be damned if she can convince me that she weighs more than 100lbs but she has the drive and stubborn determination of a 7'8'', 420lb champion bodybuilder with a genius level intellect. Within two minutes of conversation the average person will change their opinion from "wow...isn't she just darling" to something along the lines of "I'm pretty sure I'm way out of my league." She has with seemingly force of will carved a successful F&B business out of a tired and uninspiring region of our city. She has battled to bring in some of the best live acts in the city. She's a huge proponent of themed parties (Luau, Toga, and 80's night to name a few) which have seen tremendous success; a large part because of the loyal following that she and her co-captain have so inspired within the immediate community. She offers daily drink specials that rival any of the fairest priced specials in the city. She encourages patrons to engage in flippy cup, beer pong, Wii competitions, and hosts a points-driven tournament style poker tournament every Tuesday evening. She has thrown successfull Halloween parties, and on the first New Years Eve party EVERYONE in the crowd was dressed to impress...complete with masks. She blew out St. Patty's Day with a three day celebration, and even threw a great Cinco De Mayo bash (sorry France)! This writer has come to find in speaking with Mrs. Lekics that she is an unstoppable force of nature; either get with the program or get out of the way because here she comes. She should change her middle name from whatever it currently is to EFFICIENCY. She has the unassailable loyalty of every single person on her staff, and the respect of every regular who offers her bar their patronage. From what I have seen her efforts are tireless and her presence is constant. She is a credit to her company. Every now and then she takes the time to mingle with the guests, and does whatever is necessary to demonstrate to those assembled that she will ensure they have a great meal, a great drink, and a good time...even if she has to wear a viking helmet to prove it.

Mrs. Lekics does not do this alone. As previously mentioned she has an angel on her shoulder to assist in her many endeavours and to ensure that the culinary side of her house runs straight and true; enter...Zach Dillingham. Mr. Dillingham is as unassuming an individual as you will ever meet. He proportedly runs his kitchen with grace and humility. Unlike other kitchens that I have visited there was no smashing and crashing, cussing, yelling, or stressed out line cooks. Much to the contrary, jokes and one-liners fly back and forth between Dillingham and his line cooks; everyone communicates professionaly and effectively with a nod to Escoffier (in a sports bar!?!?), and as far as I'm told there has never been a verbal confrontation involving a raised voice on the line. Just as Ronni does FoH, so does Zach have the respect of everyone employed on his line. He exhibits no hubris, listening with respect and attention to the ideals submitted by the people who work for him. He tastes experimental dishes and gives honest opinions and whether good or bad, that opinion is delivered with grace. He answers with the same grace any questions from confused servers,(lets face it....every house has a couple of those) regulars, and new patrons alike. While yes it IS is barfare made with love. I first sampled Hondos' nightly N.Y. Strip Steak Special ($10.95). I was offered a first course salad of appropriate size and simplicity for a steak opening, and then treated to an entree plate of aformentioned N.Y. Strip cooked to a perfect med-rare, accompanied by a loaded baked potato the size of my head (ref. profile picture for approximate size), and a buttered medley of vegetables. In investigating some of the simpler fare, I tried the Sliders and tots ($7.95), Texas Cheeseburger with their HOMEMADE fries ($9.95), and their Hondo's Chicken Salad ($8.95). The sliders were filling and perfectly accompanied by the tots, the Texas Cheeseburger turned out to be more than I could handle in one setting and for the first time I want to attenuate my readers to a supplemental culinary accompaniment...the french fry. The french fries at Hondo's of Colorado Springs really are cut and blanched on premise. As such...they can be cooked to order (i.e. crispy, limpy, half-raw, etc.) and my simple request of "with fries" was rewarded with a hefty side of some of the best French Fries I've ever tasted. My one disappointment came in the form of a cup of Chili. The theme of the bar is marketed as a Texas style bar, so I was really disappointed that my cup o'...which was marginal in flavor and since it had beans was definately not Texas Chili. Honestly...if a cup of Chili is the only thumbs down I had about my experiences at Hondos...then you definately need to be there. (I HIGHLY recommend their fried shrimp) The food at Hondos of Colorado Springs is a reflection of Mr. Dillingham himself; it is easy to relate to, and exceptionally palatable.

Let's not forget...Hondos is a Sports Bar. Many bars have claimed the same and offered a beer-sign laden interior complete with one 36''-24 year old Zeneith behind the bar. Not so for Hondo's. Hondo's seems to have a television in everyone direction you look with no less than six of them right behind the bar. They have what HAS to be the two largest screens in the city, using HD projectors throwing crystal clear pictures on 15' high screens on BOTH sides of the bar. They purchased the NFL, MLB, and NBA packages, and at the time of this writers initial visit was one of two Rugby friendly bars in the entire city, with a subscription to the oft-sought after Rugby channel Setanta. Not only that but the Lekics/Dillingham team have managed to ensure that Hondos of Colorado Springs is one of just a handful of places that offer every U.F.C. fight to the public. I was in on a Sunday afternoon last year during football season and their bar, which by the way can comfortably seat about 28 individuals with a house seating in the hundreds, looked like a rainbow because the NFL fans knew that their game would be on at least one of the T.V.'s in the joint.

That is what being a sports bar is all about. They have pool tables, cold beer, and gazillion televisions. Great food, awesome cocktails, skilled (and do I dare add, physically astounding) staff, and a management team who really cares about their patrons.

Come and visit Colorado Springs, and trust me in this...make Hondos your first stop.

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