COLORADO SPRINGS — A Native American-owned business in Colorado Springs is supporting the indigenous community in Southern Colorado. It's called Carefree Bar & Grill and is located in the east part of the city.
As soon as you step inside the business, you can see native-American inspired decorations and art on the wall, including a large colorful mural seen from the outdoor patio. Cynthia Bickal, the owner, says it's a nod to her native roots.
Bickal moved from Iowa to Colorado nearly five years ago and she said she wanted to open the business because, "I started to realize there wasn't a lot of indigenous foods in the area or doings so I really wanted to introduce that."
Her and her family opened the bar & grill in July 2020, right in the middle of the pandemic. They sold their house and began renting to make their dream of owning a business come true.
"I'm proud in that we've come really far from where we started. As far as I know, I'm not familiar with any other native-American owned businesses," said Bickal.
Bickal says part of the menu is inspired by native American influences like bison burgers, fried bread, blanket dogs and Indian tacos.
"What makes it the Indian taco is the bread. it's a fried bread. it's been an indigenous dish if you will for some time," said Bickal.
Bickal is also a member of the Ho-Chunk nation of Wisconsin and stays active in the local native-American community when she can.
"On Monday's the business is closed, but I always open my doors to them (the native American community). They can come in and use our facilities having sewing and beading workshop group," said Bickal.
She's also a part of the Haseya Advocate Program in Colorado Springs, a native woman-led organization that serves indigenous survivors of domestic violence.
"We recently had missing, murdered and indigenous women walk where they came here afterwards, and before that, this was a safe place for them to go and vote," said Bickal, who also mentioned the murals painted around the bar & grill represent her stories and dreams of owning the business. "Inside there's a very strong tribal man who you can see has some determination behind his eyes."
There is a donation box placed in front of the business, so the community can donate winter clothing to local native American families and other families in need. The box will be there until the end of November.