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Ranch Foods Direct Customer Newsletter    

April 2012 

"Some people walk in the rain; others just get wet."  - Roger Miller 

Jake & Telly's debuts local burger-and-brew; prepares to celebrate 15th year in business

Jake and Telly's Greek Taverna is launching local beer and burger month in April with a Greek-style variation of the Callicrate Beef burger and a pint of neighborhood brewed Bristol beer for $10.

For many, a big juicy burger exemplifies life's simple pleasures, but news reports last month describing the cheap ammonia-treated fillers used in up to 70 percent of ground beef gave many shoppers and diners a wake-up call.

"We receive a lot of comments from customers who are happy that all of our ground beef is from Ranch Foods Direct," says Jake Topakas who runs the restaurant in a partnership with his brother Telly. (The chicken, lamb and pork are all from Ranch Foods Direct too.)

Jake personally made the switch to buying the meat he eats at home from Ranch Foods Direct four years ago when he began to realize how much better eating clean, natural, healthy food made him feel. Since then, he and his wife have transitioned the restaurant to carry as much fresh, local, organic food as possible. The uproar over "pink slime," the mechanically separated meat scraps approved by federal agencies for mixing into real ground burger meat, could inspire more people to question what they eat and whether to spend a little more for better quality, he says.

"I noticed the effect it had on my personality, energy level and my body, and ultimately my goal is to pass the benefits on to my customers as well," he says.

Local suppliers like Ranch Foods Direct and the Arkansas Valley Organic Growers make it easier than ever for restaurants to serve healthier food at more affordable prices, he adds.

Going back to the basics of healthy food and eating wasn't the first revelatory experience that changed Jake's life and career path.

Growing up in the diner business in Philadelphia, his dad often bought ingredients based on price and turned them into typical American dishes. But as Jake and his brother grew into adulthood, they became fascinated with their Greek heritage. "The culture we came from became very attractive to us," he recalls. When they partnered on a restaurant in Colorado Springs, they discovered the public had a hunger for Greek food and ambiance too.

The Topakas were more than happy to oblige, digging back into their family history to revive traditional recipes that are more than a hundred years old. They created a beautiful Mediterranean dining backdrop and festive atmosphere that immerses visitors in the Old World.

"We discovered people definitely wanted something different," Jake says. Now they're preparing to mark 15 years in business May 6 with a traditional Greek festival, called a Glendi. Opa! Stop by anytime during the party and pay at the door.

MONTHLY: Jake & Telly's special wine dinners are held on the last Thursday of the month. COMING APRIL 26: A farm-to-table feast starring Colorado items, including products from Ranch Foods Direct.

COMING MAY 6: Big 15th anniversary bash, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., all-you-can-eat Greek buffet and traditional lamb roast, $25 per person, pay at the door.

Jake & Telly's Greek Taverna �  2616 W. Colorado Ave. �  (719) 633-0406 �  Open daily at 11 a.m. Sun-Thurs til 9 p.m., Fri/Sat til 10 p.m. Online at

JAKE & TELLY'S PARTICIPATES IN RANCH FOODS DIRECT PAY FORWARD CARD PROGRAM... Ranch Foods Direct makes it easy to support community organizations every time you shop or dine with "Pay Forward" cards that allow you to contribute part of what you spend toward local charities. Learn more by CLICKING HERE.

NEW to the Pay Forward program... TAPAteria in Colorado Springs is offering a free gazpacho shooter with purchase of a Ranch Foods Direct menu item (meatballs or carne adobada.)

Q& A with TAPAteria owner Dave Brackett 

Dave Brackett and his wife Laura operate two neighboring restaurants in Old Colorado City - Pizzeria Rustica and TAPAteria. The Bracketts are widely heralded for bringing European sensibilities to the local food and dining scene. (Dave was stationed overseas for 14 years, where a large part of the couple's job was entertaining.)

Q. What makes your TAPAteria meatball tapas so good?

A: Instead of bread crumbs, we use potato chip crumbs. We also put in Mahon, a type of Spanish cheese similar to a gouda, which gives the meatballs a nice, soft texture. We're very careful how we bake them off, so they stay nice and juicy and don't dry out. They come with some nice dipping options on the side. As far as the meat itself, it is a special 50-50 blend of Callicrate Beef and Ranch Foods Direct pork.

Q. Another Ranch Foods Direct item on your menu is the carne adobada. Please describe it.

A. Basically it's made from boneless pork shoulder. Don Martin (Ranch Foods Direct wholesale manager) selects the good ones for us. It's a very simple recipe. We stew the pork shoulder in water, white wine and a proprietary seasoning, and that's it. After cooking the pork shoulder in a crockpot overnight, it comes out very tender. We shred it apart and reduce down the sauce from the crockpot in a frying pan, and mix it back in with the meat. We serve it with a Greek yogurt sauce drizzled over the top.

Q. You've won many awards as a "green" restaurant. What does it mean to be green?

A. We've been in the green restaurant movement since the beginning. I got certified in 2009 as the first independent green restaurant by the Green Restaurant Association. The website at talks about the measures you have to take to earn points to be certified for green dining, but among other things it includes having no styrofoam packaging and instead using eco-products (many of which are made right up in Boulder) reducing disposal water and electricity consumption, using local food and sustainable seafood, and making use of recycled building materials, as well as green cleaning products. As a result of energy efficiencies we've done, our utility bill is less than most homes in town.

Q. You created a sensation by opening the city's first tapas bar. In your view, what makes the concept of "small plates" so popular?

A. A lot of people want to eat lighter and healthier, and TAPAteria is 100 percent gluten free, so for those who are gluten intolerant it gives them a nice variety of menu items. We even have a gluten free beer from Spain. A lot of people come here for drinks and tapas and then go on to Pizzeria Rustica or another restaurant for dinner, but 80 percent of our customers treat it as a dining destination.

Q. You joined the Pay It Forward program. Why?

A. We'd like to encourage people to come in and enjoy the Ranch Foods Direct menu items. As an incentive, we're giving away a free gazpacho shooter whenever a cardholder orders one. 

It's another sell-out... Chef Kevin Campbell's inaugural smoked barbecue lunch held Thursday at Ranch Foods Direct sold out of sandwiches by 12:30!

Look for Kevin to offer more "pop-up" lunches, cooked and served right outside the Ranch Foods Direct store, as part of his future offerings. "It's traditional Texas barbecue with a smoker set up in the parking lot. In Texas, it's all about the meat and the smoke," he says. "There's rarely any barbecue sauce added. Instead it's flavored with beef stock and drippings, a little chili powder, vinegar and a pinch of sugar." 

 Kevin will post a new schedule of Ranch Foods Direct harvest table dinners soon. He also plans to team up with Chef Brent Beavers at Conscious Table downtown for a special dinner sometime in late April. And finally, on April 28, he'll smoke goats and a pig for a "sustainable smorgasbord" to benefit the local Catamount Institute.

 Get more details at Full Circle Cuisine online.  
To receive updates by email, please email [email protected] or call him at (719) 482-8082. Keep up with Kevin's lunches, dinners and special events by following him on Facebook, CLICK HERE.


What you support prospers,

what you feed grows   


When eating out, use Ranch Foods Direct's interactive restaurant map (or the smart-phone QR code, below).


Restaurant Map Code 


GET ON THE TRAIL OF REAL BURGERS... ABOVE, a real 100 percent beef burger (no ammonia-treated filler added) served at Johnny's Navajo Hogan in Colorado Springs (2817 North Nevada Ave., 719-344-9593.) Find a whole gallery of delicious burgers offered at restaurants around town on RFD's Facebook page ( Why not try them all? You can rest assured they are the real deal. 

  Keep up with RFD on Facebook.  

Follow owner Mike Callicrate on Twitter: @MikeCallicrate 


Ranch Foods Direct Natural Meat Market 

2901 N. El Paso, Colorado Springs 80907

Retail Hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Saturday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

 (719) 473-2306 or 1-866-866-6328

Shop online:

 For harvest table dinners (presented by Full Circle Cuisine) CLICK HERE.  

Home Service option, CLICK HERE.