Head for Fort Collins and take advantage of Great Plates, a two-week long dining promotion
By Caramie Petrowsky
With more restaurants per capita than most U.S. cities of similar size, the opportunities for culinary adventures in Fort Collins continues to bloom: More than 50 new restaurants opened in 2018 alone. With the annual Great Plates dining promotion returning March 1-14, you can score dinner for two for just $25 at a few of the restaurants listed here, and a slew of others—there’s really no better time to visit Fort Collins. Make it a true getaway by pairing dinner with a concert at a local venue or a show at the Lincoln Center before resting your head at the posh Elizabeth Hotel in Old Town.
Whether you’re coming from a neighboring NoCo ‘hood or the Mile High City, here are five restaurant standbys that are definitely worth the drive.
Tuck into a tasty meal (or just share a slice of pie) at the new Ginger and Baker, which opened in late 2017. Located in the carefully renovated Northern Colorado Feeders Supply Building, a 110-year-old grain mill listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the State Register of Historic Properties, Ginger and Baker boasts two restaurants. The Cache is a more intimate dining experience with elevated offerings like charred octopus, Colorado bison ribeye, Parmesan black pepper ravioli, apple bourbon pork belly and more. At The Café, you’ll find new takes on farm-to-fork classics like fried chicken and biscuits, green bean fries, pot pies, country fried chicken and all things pie for dessert. Caramelized banana cream pie? Yes, please!
At this sleek eatery named for its address (415 S. Mason St.), everything is made from scratch from the salad dressings to the pizza dough. Salads, pizzas, vegetarian options, grilled proteins and local trout – you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu at Restaurant 415. Try the house-made fried chicken with orange-infused waffles and bacon thyme maple syrup. The Woodland pizza is another must eat: caramelized onions, Hazel Dell mixed mushrooms, dried figs, goat cheese, mozzarella, balsamic glaze and a sprinkling of chard and kale.
Named by Food & Wine as the best vegan restaurant in Colorado,
The Gold Leaf Collective was Fort Collins’ first 100 percent vegan restaurant. At this cozy spot across from Colorado State University, chefs serve up inventive, delicious offerings like poke bowls (with mojo tofu in place of raw fish), buffalo cauliflower “wings”, Bahn Mi sandwiches, Thai broccoli noodle bowls and much more. The focus is on hyper-local and foraged ‘New Colorado Cuisine.’ The menu changes with the season, based upon what’s IN season and what can be sustainably preserved. The goal is to disconnect from corporate food distribution companies by sourcing indigenous ingredients found in Colorado, both foraged and harvested.
This beloved Old Town eatery is also the oldest restaurant in northern Colorado. The brick walls, comfortable booths and plate-sized homemade cinnamon rolls oozing with frosting contribute to character you won’t find elsewhere. Serving up an extensive menu of breakfast and lunch classics, it’s nearly impossible to leave this spot hungry. From huevos rancheros to three types of Benedicts and biscuits ‘n gravy smothered in homemade sausage gravy, choosing your meal might be the hardest decision you make all day. Every weekend the restaurant offers its impressive Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar that uses local products. Crowds line up outside the door for five days each year to take advantage of the Silver Grill’s rollback menu featuring 1933 prices, including coffee for a nickel. Drink up!
At The Farmhouse at Jessup Farm, the vibe and the food are sociable, approachable and relaxed. From truffle parm Brussels sprouts to green chile mac & cheese, brown buttered salmon to fried chicken done right, the chefs here pride themselves on seasonal menus and from-scratch cooking. Located in a 19th-century farmhouse at the Jessup Farm artisan village, The Farmhouse at Jessup Farm takes an evolutionary approach to food. Behind the 133-year-old building, catch a glimpse of the backyard chicken coop. Chef Joel Navajas uses the Village’s small farm and garden operation to create the menu and uses local purveyors to source what he doesn’t grow.