(Colorado Springs, CO) Food halls are more than a food court - they are a destination. A growing trend over the last decade, food halls are a hub of activity often centered around several restaurant concepts with shared dining space.
The first one to open in downtown Colorado Springs was Co.A.T.I. in 2020 in a building previously used for trolley maintenance. The refurbished space has an industrial feel with red brick walls, high ceilings, iron accents, and electronic dance music in the background.
Large bay doors open on both ends to provide nice ventilation and an indoor/outdoor dining experience, while plants and colorful art help to soften the space. Co.A.T.I. is an aesthetically-pleasing environment that focuses on art, entertainment, food, and community connection.
Co.A.T.I.'s unique name is an acronym (Colorado Automatic Trolley Interchange) to honor the history of the building and a shout-out to the coati, an animal from the same family of mammals as raccoons and ring-tailed cats.
Coatis are known for their intelligence and playful manner, and this is a fitting brand for the vibrant, creative, and lively space sharing its name.
Co.A.T.I. has six kitchens, two bars, and a brewery with communal dining space on two levels. One of the kitchens is Samich Shack which opened in 2021.
Samich Shack specializes in craft sandwiches with fun, hometown names like Cheyenne Mountain, Penrose, and Pikes Peak.
On a recent visit, I enjoyed the Pueblo, a grilled chicken sandwich with American cheese, green peppers, onions, and green chili on a baguette. The green chili was flavorful with a good kick that didn't knock you over. It was a nice blend of cheese and spice that I would order again.
The only downside was the sandwich filling was either too small or the bread too large. A better ratio would have made the sandwich perfect.
My dining companion ordered the Incline, a roast beef sandwich with pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, Shack sauce, and A1 aioli (the cover photo). It was served on a crispy baguette, a nice change from the softer bread common to many sub sandwiches. It was a solid roast beef sandwich.
We also tried a burger which was cooked fresh to order and delicious. All sandwiches and burgers come with potato chips and a pickle spear.
The Samich Shack is one of many eateries at Co.A.T.I. This spectacular dining and community space is definitely worth a visit, and if you are craving a sandwich or burger, the Samich Shack is the place to stop.
- Location: 514 S. Tejon Street, Colorado Springs, 80903
This article is the first in a ten-part series exploring the food, art, and community experience of the downtown Colorado Springs food halls.