Fort Collins has been getting national and statewide attention for decades thanks to its famous craft breweries and the bustling local food scene. After exciting 2017 openings like Ginger & Baker and The Elizabeth Hotel, it seems like everyone is clamoring for FoCo food.
But did you know one of the best restaurants in the entire state is located 30 minutes away in Windsor? And Loveland boasts some of the best farm-to-table fare in the region!
Since we’ve already covered The Best Seasonal Menus from Fort Collins Restaurants and The Best Places to Get Dinner in Fort Collins, According to Yelp, we’re turning our attention to the communities just outside FoCo. We rounded up the top ten eateries located just a short drive from Fort Collins. Distances range from 20 minutes to 45 minutes, but all are worth the trip!
Photo courtesy of Chimney Park
Chimney Park isn’t just a locally-recognized restaurant; it’s been ranked in Colorado’s top ten restaurants on OpenTable and is a Distinguished Restaurant of North America award-winning eatery! Located about 30 minutes outside of Fort Collins, we suggest making the trip as often as you can because the locally sourced menu changes with the seasons and, sometimes, with the day. Owner and Chef Jason Shaeffer crafts items like Bison Tartare and Charred Spanish Octopus alongside approachable entrées like Summer Truffle Stuffed Pheasant and Glazed Duroc Pork Tenderloin. The restaurant’s brand new bar and happy hour menu make it the perfect place for a casual, weekday meal or a special night out!
The Boar and Bull opened in downtown Loveland in 2014 as both a butcher shop and tavern. Locally- and veteran-owned, the team sources some of the world’s best meats from no more than 100 miles away, and then crafts them into locally-famous pulled pork and brisket sandwiches, bacon, ribeye and more. Their menu may be small, but it features some of the best food in NoCo, so come by for a bite and a sip of Loveland brews on tap!
Photo courtesy of Mo’Betta Gumbo
If you live in NoCo, you know Mo’Betta. And there’s one simple reason: They’re slinging the best Cajun and Creole cuisine in the region. Growing up in the South taught Chef Clay Caldwell the basics of Southern hospitality and true home-cookin’. He made the move to Colorado in an effort to slow down and enjoy life which, of course, he found. But he also found a community craving Southern classics, so he opened Mo’Betta Gumbo as a cozy family spot serving Jambalaya, Famous Asiago Shrimp & Grits, Hush Puppies, Beignets and even homemade, flavored moonshine!
We’ll drive 25 minutes for authentic Hawaiian food any day. Island-born Chef Andy Higa creates approachable menu items that infuse cultural tradition with modern twists. That means you’ll find intense flavors with a healthy freshness in dishes like Ahi Poke, Kalua Pig Sandwich, Sautéed Mahi-Mahi and Saimin, which is fresh Hawaiian ramen noodles served in light, homemade soup broth served with the island essentials: Spam, egg and green onion.
Photo courtesy of Hearth Restaurant and Pub
Did you know the phrase “home is where the heart is” was originally “home is where the hearth is”? Motivated by this, Hearth Restaurant and Pub is acting as Windsor’s local hearth and your new home away from home. The menu is packed with comfort food served with upscale flair. In fact, we could use some Molten Brie right now; it’s served in phyllo dough with apples, honey and pomegranate! On the menu, you’ll find Fish-n-Chips alongside Pan Seared Yellowfin Tuna so come for the food, then stay for the coziest atmosphere in town.
Door 222 is a favorite in Loveland for a variety of reasons. For starters, the menu is crafted with extensive detail in every bite with a special focus on tapas and inventive cocktails. And in addition to providing one of the freshest, seasonal menus in the region, this locally-owned spot gives back to the community. Each quarter, they donate a portion of specific menu items to local nonprofits in childhood enrichment and education, medical research, and animal shelter and enrichment.
Photo courtesy of Pellegrini Ristorante Italiano and Taylor Nicole Photography
Owner and Operator Carlo Pellegrini called Puglia, Italy home before relocating to Colorado. The sunny coastline and agricultural heritage of the region make it a hotspot for fresh seafood, traditional pastas, cold-pressed olive oil and artisanal cheeses — all served together for one of the best meals in the world. Carlo has brought all of that childhood comfort and culinary tradition right here to Greeley offering authentic Italian dishes, freshly baked bread and handcrafted cocktails in a warm, rustic setting.
When they opened their doors back in 2004, the team at Henry’s Pub took the classic, cozy atmosphere of an old town pub and added urban flair with a menu of contemporary and upscale comfort food. That means you’ll find Fried Pickles, a Bleu Cheese Bacon Burger and Fish & Chips alongside Goat Cheese Brulée, Calamari and Wild Game Bangers & Mash. Throw in bar beverages made from local Loveland, Fort Collins and NoCo breweries and distilleries and you’ll be instantly hooked.
Photo courtesy of Toast Coffee and Wine Bar
For a casual spot in Downtown Windsor, Toast is definitely in our top ten! This locally-owned coffee and wine bar just opened in September 2017 and has already garnered local fame. They serve Novo espresso and coffee by day, wine and Colorado beer by night with daily food offerings that include specialty toasts, charcuterie, pastries and paninis. If you haven’t welcomed them to the NoCo food scene yet, stop by the next time you’re looking to eat and drink local!
Pub atmosphere is about making everyone feel welcome, comfortable and full! Boasting all of that and more, The Laureate serves as Loveland’s living room — a gathering place for friends and family to enjoy housemade bar foods, inventive house cocktails and craft beers sourced from just down the street and from around the globe. Start with the Housemade Meatballs and you can’t go wrong.
The Northern Colorado region is blessed with hundreds of local hotspots and hidden gems. If your favorite isn’t on our list, share it in the comments below so we can stop by!