With its pioneering craft breweries, walkable downtown, charming boutique hotels, vibrant student energy from Colorado State University, easily accessible hiking trails and bike-friendly streets, Fort Collins is the perfect place to plan a weekend getaway. While you’re in town, be sure to visit Fort Collins favorites like Social, Odell, ginger and baker, New Belgium, the Silver Grill Cafeand the emporiumbut also to save room for these 11 new places to eat and drink.
Additional Arts and Drafts
If you always looked forward to arts and crafts time as a kid, now you can partake in a slightly more grown-up version at Additional Arts and Drafts, an interactive bar that opened in February 2021. Part bar, part art studio, Extra Arts & Drafts provides patrons with all the materials and instruction they need to complete a DIY project while sipping beer, wine, cider or soft drink. Projects typically last one to two hours and range from making leather wallets to customizing cheese boards with woodburning tools.
“It’s a cozy place where you can try something new and learn a new skill,” says Jeff White, who co-owns the business with his wife, Amy. “Making art with your hands has so many personal benefits, like reducing stress and boosting your creativity, so Extra Arts & Drafts is as much a sanctuary for self-care and socializing as it is a craft workshop.” 115 E. Mountain Ave., Fort Collins; 970-893-2985
The next time you visit a restaurant in northern Colorado, you might find yourself dining privately in an adorable little house-like trailer. Meet the corner, an 80-square-foot portable venue that creates additional outdoor dining space for local partner restaurants, where it parks on select days. Past participating restaurants have included the Farm at Jessup Farm and Mobb Mountain Distillers. It’s one of many innovations to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, when owners got creative with igloos, cabanas, tents and other smart devices to meet restaurant capacity limits and make so that customers feel safe and comfortable.
As the pandemic drags on, the Nook remains a bright spot among restaurateurs. “The interior has a booth that seats six adults, so it’s been popular with everyone from girls’ night out to college students to families with young children,” says Seth Pearson, who launched the Nook in February 2021 with Sean Hudgens. Various locations (find the latest ones by following the company on instagram); 970-219-2087
Little on the mountain
Little on the mountain, aka Little, is nestled among historic homes and tall trees in the Old Town West neighborhood of Fort Collins. The restaurant is long, narrow and, as the name suggests, small, but that intimacy is part of the appeal. Because it has a centralized open kitchen, diners feel like they’re part of the action, says Dan Smalheiser, the restaurant’s co-owner with Brett Jackson. The pair opened Little in December 2019, just months before the pandemic hit Colorado.
Like many restaurants, Smalheiser and Jackson were forced to pivot: They built a large heated patio and erected canvas cabanas with rotating themes like Morocco, outer space and mushroom forests. These days, Little serves brunch and dinner, featuring seasonal dishes that showcase local ingredients from vendors like Jodar Farms and Dell Hazelnut Mushrooms. 1046 W. Mountain Avenue, Fort Collins; firstname.lastname@example.org
Duff Old Town Sausage Cart
When Garrett Overlee and Josh Olson lost their jobs due to the pandemic, the duo came together to brainstorm next steps. “We decided Fort Collins needed a hot dog cart,” says Overlee. And so, in September 2021, they launched Duff Old Town Sausage Cart, a traveling food stand that serves an array of hot dogs and sausages. It’s named for Overlee’s Olde English Bulldog, Duff, who loves walking around Old Town “and hot dogs, for that matter,” Overlee says.
On the rotating menu, you can find offerings like: a frankfurter stuffed with macaroni and cheese, served with a macaroni and cheese sauce; a vegan dog made with pea protein, wheat gluten and smoked seasonings; a wild boar brat with apricot, cranberry and maple; and the Fratelli, an Italian sausage topped with onion, bell pepper, marinara and oregano. The cart operates April through November and, weather permitting, is open for lunch, late-night meals, and after Colorado State University home football games. Various locations (find the latest ones by following the company on instagram); email@example.com
For over 30 years, the original property at 1802 Laporte Avenue in Fort Collins served as a well-known chimney retail and repair store. Then the site remained on the real estate market for 10 years. In 2019 Tyler Olpin and Natalie Yoder decided this was the perfect location for their new brewery, Stodgy Brewery. They have renovated the property diligently, salvaging and reusing as much wood, slate, soapstone and other materials as possible before opening in September 2020.
The result is a unique brasserie and bar with a large outdoor patio and courtyard space. Stodgy’s name is an ironic reference to the fact that beer can be heavy and high in carbs, but also acknowledges that the tasting room is unpretentious and open to everyone. The beers here range from a light table saison to a bold imperial stout aged in rye whiskey barrels, with plenty of styles in between. 1802 Laporte Avenue; 970-232-9702
Ciao Vino wine bar
It’s not every day that a restaurant closes for almost two decades and then reopens again. Corn Ciao Vino wine bar made a triumphant return to the Old Town after it closed nearly 18 years ago. After opening the wine bar with other owners in 2000, chef Antonio Race decided to focus on other projects, and in 2004 Ciao Vino closed its doors. In September 2021, Race reopened the traditional Italian wine bar, which offers over 120 wines, small plates, charcuterie and cheeses, and salads. 255 Linden Street; 970-484-3717
Old Town welcomed a family-run French bakery and bistro with the opening of Philip on South College Avenue in early February. Chef-owner Philippe Boutinet grew up in a cognac vineyard in Cognac, France, and began his apprenticeship as a chef when he was just 13 years old. He moved to the United States and worked under renowned chefs like Thomas Keller of the French Laundry and Patrick O’Connell. from the Little Washington Inn. Now he’s bringing his passion for French cuisine to northern Colorado, with classic dishes like quiche lorraine, croque monsieur (or madame), onion soup, beef bourguignon and duck confit on the menu. Philippe serves brunch, lunch, dinner and pastries in a casual atmosphere. 133 S College Avenue; 970-631-8482
More new Fort Collins spots to discover
- Kujira Ramenwhich opened in February 2021 and serves ramen, pork buns and other Japanese and Chinese dishes
- Josh & John’sa Colorado Springs ice cream chain that opened in the Jessup Farm Artisan Village in Fort Collins in June 2020
- As Cafethe Armstrong Hotel’s new pandemic-born patio and lobby bar
- Locust Cider & Brewing Co.., a Washington-based cider house that also has locations in the Belmar neighborhood of Lakewood and Fort Worth, Texas (the Boulder location closed in September 2021)
[Read 7 New Mountain-Town Restaurants to Try this Ski Season]