Isn’t it a shame how diets often cut out things like towering burgers, quarter-pound cookies, fried chicken and caramel coconut cheesecakes? If you’re like us, you’ve probably planned a few cheat days into your resolution to eat healthier in the new year. And we know just where to go to treat yourself!
Desserts, hearty meals and pub food classics are all worthy categories, but only a few local spots make the top ten list. We hope you have more than one cheat day planned because you might not be able to resist these tantalizing options. Don’t worry, we won’t judge you for drooling.
In November 2017, the long-awaited Ginger and Baker opened the doors to their café, market and bakery, restaurant, teaching kitchen and rooftop bar located inside the historic Northern Colorado Feeders Supply building. Now, we have an all-day dining spot, a shopping destination and an exciting educational opportunity all rolled into one. When you’re ready to cheat on your diet, we recommend heading directly to the bakery where you’ll find scratch-made pies, pastries, frozen popsicles, and even Pup Pops for your furry friend!
Photo courtesy of Mary’s Mountain Cookies
It’s not an uncommon sight in Old Town to see kids and families racing to Mary’s Mountain Cookies. Feel free to join in because the quarter pound monsters are worth it! They come straight from founder and baker Mary Johns’ kitchen — though they’re now made in 100-pound batches with industrial mixers to meet demand. When your craving hits, find Mary’s cookies at their Northern Colorado locations in FoCo and Loveland.
Photo courtesy of Stuft Burger Bar and Marianne Pellin Photography
Whether you’re in Greeley, Windsor or Fort Collins, you can track down a Stuft burger — and you’d be getting one of the best burgers in the state! We’re not exaggerating; they’ve won numerous awards, including a 2016 title from the Colorado Burger Summit. Try one of their monthly featured burgers or build your own with the classics like grilled onions and bacon. Or, if you’re feeling extra adventurous try one of their unique toppings like strawberry preserves and pita strips.
Any place with fried chicken on the menu is going to have a few cheat meal options, but at Music City Hot Chicken, you can rest assured they’ll all be worth it. The first of its kind to showcase Nashville Style Hot Chicken in FoCo, this lunch, dinner and brunch spot was founded by brothers Jordan and Sam who are Fort Collins locals, Lambkin and CSU grads. If you need more convincing, just check out their Instagram account.
Photo courtesy of Waltzing Kangaroo
At Waltzing Kangaroo, the meat comes in a pie, the veggies come in a pie, the rolls are prepared with handmade puff pastry, the gravy never stops pouring, and the sweets never stop satisfying our sweet tooth. At this family-owned, authentic Australian food joint, we recommend ordering more than one mini pie so you can try several different flavors!
We’re not going to lie to you and say that waffles are healthy, but at The Waffle Lab, you can get them topped with fruit (plus Nutella, homemade whipped cream and real Vermont maple syrup, of course). This food-truck turned sit down restaurant serves their famous Liege-style waffle in sweet and savory options for breakfast, lunch and dinner so you can treat yourself any time of day!
Photo courtesy of The Chocolate Cafe
It’s a café that specializes almost exclusively chocolate, so of course, it’s worth it! The simple dinner menu includes items like Chicken Pot Pie and hot Paninis, but the main attraction is the dessert menu of Toffee Chocolate Brownies, Caramel Coconut Cheesecakes, Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pies and Chocolate Raviolis (milk chocolate and hazelnut filling sealed in a wrapper and served warm with rich, butter pecan ice cream). And we haven’t even gotten to the Chocolate Martinis yet! See the full drink list here.
Fort Collins’ La Crêperie is about true French food decadence: Croissant Benedicts, Galettes and Crepes, Beignets, artisan French baguettes, Macarons, French Toast — you name it. Prepared fresh daily, the recipes come from the mind and childhood of the owner, Jean Claude, who was raised in Brittany, France!
Photo courtesy of Walrus Ice Cream
We’re strong proponents of eating ice cream every day, but we do understand that’s not always a good (or healthy) idea. So save your cheat day for a trip to Walrus, FoCo’s favorite local spot! In the same place and with the same recipes, Walrus has been crafting handmade treats in town since 1987. Today, they offer 29 daily rotating flavor choices all without eggs or gluten. And they also offer sherbet, sorbet and low-fat frozen yogurt if you don’t want to go too overboard.
Nuance Chocolate creates small-batch “bean-to-bar” chocolates made straight from cocoa beans roasted and ground inside their Old Town shop. You can pick up these delicious and authentic creations in the form of fresh truffles, single-origin and flavored bars, hot chocolate, and more! Or, sit and stay for a while with a Taster Flight of treats in their cozy café.
Is there a spot on the list you just can’t resist? Let us know in the comments below or share your favorites that we missed!