Grab a slice of Americana at Fort Collins, Colorado, the inspiration for Disney Land’s Main Street USA. Situated in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the city also has many diners and restaurant. Read on for our top 10 picks.
Courtesy of Ace Gillett’s
Bar, Bistro, Restaurant, American, $$$
In the basement of The Armstrong Hotel is Ace Gillett’s, an intimate restaurant, lounge and jazz bar that serves Spanish tapas and Middle Eastern dishes, as well as a variety of tasty cocktails. Executive chef Troy Heller has trained across the United States, including at Fort Collins’ Jay’s Bistro. The menu includes lighter bites as well as more hearty Mediterranean meals with an American twist. The entrance is slightly hidden, adding to the restaurant’s speakeasy feel. With live jazz playing five nights a week this is a restaurant for those who love their food with music.
Austin’s American Grill is a real taste of Colorado. The menu includes several American styles of cooking, including Cajun, barbecue, and comfort food. The restaurant opened in 1997 and was originally known for its open rotisseries, which are still in use today. On Sundays it’s worth visiting for brunch, for a menu that features biscuits and gravy, apple fritters and corned beef hash. The interior is homely but modern, and features a well-stocked bar and large fish tank. On sunny days you will see patrons sitting in the front patio area under red umbrellas, enjoying the view of Fort Collins.
After American food, Fort Collins’ favorite culinary choice is Italian. Opened in 1979, Bisetti’s is one of the most popular restaurants in Fort Collins. Over the past 10 years Bisetti’s has won many awards including from Fort Collins Weekly and the Rocky Mountain Collegian. The original restaurant was very quaint, with only 50 covers. It was expanded in 1989 and continues to serve traditional, fresh Italian food with ingredients and drinks sourced from local farms, distilleries and breweries. The restaurant is a family-run affair and the menu and restaurant have a very homely feel to them. This place is also a favorite for date nights and family dinners.
The awning at the front of Canino’s is sure to catch the eye of passers-by. Opened in 1976, the restaurant has recipes that were passed down by owner Clyde Canino’s grandfather, the owner of Canino’s pizzeria in Denver. The restaurant prides itself on providing ‘Italian dining for Italians, and anyone who likes eating like an Italian’. The menu offerings are rustic Italian with the option of eating family style. The bread and pizzas come highly recommended and are hard to resist.
A taste of the old country in Old Town Fort Collins, Enzio’s Italian Kitchen gives classic Neapolitan dishes a contemporary twist, transporting you to the Mediterranean coast without ever leaving Colorado. Enzio’s is possibly the most health-conscious of the Italian restaurants on our list, with all pasta freshly made with semolina flour as well as having a good selection of salads. The interior decor is modern Italian, and the red neon sign outside will catch the eye of passers-by. The restaurant has a fully stocked bar with a wide selection of cocktails, which gets particularly busy during happy hour.
Bar, Bistro, Restaurant, American, Japanese, Mediterranean, $$$
Jay's Bistro, Fort Collins
Jay’s Bistro is a family-run restaurant that was established in 1980 by husband and wife team Jay and Jackie Witlen. The couple loves to travel and this is reflected in the menu, with influences from Japan, Mexico, and the Mediterranean. Their menus are subject to change, although some favorites include the mixed grill, and salmon and Colorado lamb chops. Jay’s claims to have the best wine list in Fort Collins and happy hour in addition to its fully stocked bar. As the restaurant doubles as a jazz bar, you can stay on after your meal to enjoy some live music.
Fashioned as a quasi-old English pub, The Moot House is testament to the enduring popularity of the old country across the pond. The interior decor is the biggest nod to the restaurant’s inspiration, with dark wood furniture, warm fireplaces and cozy seating areas, faux-Tudor exterior woodwork. The large patio with its open fire pit makes outdoor dining an attractive option both day and night. While there is fish and chips, the menu is otherwise very much traditional American, with steak, burgers and pretzels popular options. After 30 years, The Moot House remains one of Fort Collins’ most popular restaurants.
Restaurant 415, or ‘The Four Fifteen’ as it is also known, serves New American cuisine and is popular among the college crowd due to its reasonable prices, inventive dishes and laid-back atmosphere. The large interior is basic, but small touches such as old Hollywood pictures and neon signs give it some character. The restaurant is usually quite full, especially at weekends and for brunch. They serve comfort foods like mac and cheese and pizza, but their more inventive creations like ‘When Pigs Fly’ – fried chicken, orange-infused waffles, bacon-thyme and maple syrup – is what makes 415 one of Fort Collins’ most popular restaurants. Please note that the restaurant is closed on Mondays.
Suehiro is Fort Collins’ premiere sushi restaurant and Japanese tearoom. The company was originally established in 1985 and has been in its present location since 1998, serving Asian fusion food, fresh sushi and the ‘most creative rolls’ in town. Its food has won awards from The Coloradoan and Colorado State University. While sushi is the centerpiece at Suehiro, there is a selection of other dishes such as tempura, katsu and udon. Additionally, there is an extensive range of hot and cold saki on offer.
While many of Fort Collins’ restaurants are beginning to promote healthier and gluten-free menu items, Tasty Harmonytakes the crown for the most health-conscious restaurant. Everything is organic and vegetarian, with plenty of vegan options. Dishes are hearty and filling, giving and the menu regularly changes in line with the seasonal availability of ingredients. Popular dishes include mac n cheese with vegan sauce, burritos, tacos, coconut curry and ‘Kentucky Fried Freedom’. The interior is minimal, with bare brick walls and wooden tables. A great choice for the health conscious, Tasty Harmony is a prime example of how to do a vegetarian restaurant right.