Nelson Ruffano purchases The Ancient Mariner

One New Year’s Eve in the late 1990s, Colorado Springs real estate agent Nelson Ruffano had a vivid dream. He dreamt he owned a busy NY-style pizzeria. Already in his life, Ruffano had been a probation officer, a teacher, and a roofer.  He hadn’t even considered owning a restaurant. But the dream was so life-like he told his friends and family. With their encouragement, plus the guidance of the owners New York City’s own Hell’s Kitchen Pizza, the dream became a reality.  

In 2010 Ruffano opened Ruffano’s Hell Kitchen Pizzeria on Ruxton Ave. Shortly after, he opened Heavenly Squeeze a juice and oxygen bar, and then Marilyn’s Pizza on Manitou Ave.  The career shift to restauranteur was complete.

In January, Ruffano purchased The Ancient Mariner, a well-known Manitou bar and music venue on Manitou Ave. near the roundabout at Ruxton Ave.

The menu will keep the seafood focus, but will also offer Hell’s Kitchen Pizza “by-the-slice”. Remodel includes a new “open concept” kitchen, where diners can see their food being prepared.

Ruffano is looking to reinvigorate the local music scene by bringing in regional bands on weekends. Throughout the week go for poker, karaoke or jam band night, where professional and local musicians play together on stage.  For the complete event calendar go to: