The restaurant community in Northern Colorado is unlike any other. At the many tables and booths dotting the region, from Fort Collins to Loveland, we come together to eat, drink, and foster a sense of community and belonging.
During the coronavirus pandemic, many of our beloved restaurants are taking a financial hit as sales drop despite efforts to provide meals for takeout and delivery.
However, these unforeseen hardships have not stopped many of them from continuing to give back to the community, from providing food to local food banks or handing out free food to the community. Not to mention, some of these restaurants give back 24/7, and need our support now more than ever to continue their efforts in the days ahead.
Join as we take a look at the many philanthropic restaurants in our midst, and more importantly — how we can support them and their efforts during this difficult time.
Photo Courtesy of Snack Attack
Lauren and Shawn Storeby are Fort Collins locals with a passion for great food, great beer and entertaining — which happens to be the perfect combination to represent our community. They’ve created a locally owned, veteran-operated, eco-friendly establishment where anyone can enjoy healthy and delicious foods made with natural and organic ingredients.
And during the coronavirus pandemic, they are taking up donations to support healthcare workers at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins. When ordering food for pickup or delivery, select “Donations” from the drop-down menu to contribute to this cause. Snack Attack also delivers through NoCo Nosh, which is currently donating 10 percent of food sales to food banks in Northern Colorado (more on that later!).
A group of five women in Fort Collins organized a “Food for NoCo Frontline Healthcare Workers” GoFundMe campaign in late March to support healthcare workers and simultaneously boost the local economy. The money raised is used to purchase meals from local restaurants to be delivered to local hospitals, including UCHealth facilities in Greeley, Loveland and Fort Collins. The group has worked with Hearth Restaurant and Pub in Windsor, Windsor Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, Windsor Mill Tavern, Greeley’s Fat Albert, and many more. They hope to expand their restaurant offerings, with a special focus on Greeley restaurants. You can support their GoFundMe page here.
Photo Courtesy of Spoons
This Fort Collins restaurant serves up soup, salad and sandwiches made with healthy and local ingredients in mind. Spoons maintains an incredible relationship with local farmers and ranchers, and the menu changes daily to reflect available ingredients and changing seasons.
Not to mention, they have a close relationship with local nonprofits, including the Food Bank for Larimer County, which they worked with to establish the Stone Soup program to help families in need. For every quart of hot soup purchased, Spoons is donating a heaping bowl of Stone Soup to the food bank. Purchase a few quarts this month, through pickup or delivery, to provide a hot meal for someone in need!
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. 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.
Door222 may be closed at the moment, but their charitable mission has not ceased. They always do their best to donate both their time and treasure to worthy causes in Northern Colorado. To support them at this time, consider purchasing a gift card or items from their marketplace to buy some essential, hard-to-find items.
FoCo Café has long been the poster child for charitable restaurants in Fort Collins. In fact, FoCo Café is the first non-profit restaurant in Fort Collins. Instead of a cash register on the counter, you’ll find a donation box where you’re encouraged to pay what you can. So, when you dine at FoCo Café, not only will you be getting a delicious meal made with local, organic and sustainable ingredients, you’re also supporting the community and the land we call home. And while they are temporarily closed during the coronavirus pandemic, they will continue to feed those in need as soon as they are back up and running.
You can support FoCo Café and their efforts through a direct monetary donation, fulfilling wish list items, sponsoring a meal and much more. Your contribution enables them to provide nutritious and delicious meals to all people regardless of their ability to pay.
Graphic Courtesy of NoCo NOSH
While NoCo NOSH isn’t necessarily a restaurant, they are definitely in the business of restaurants — and helping our community. NoCo NOSH is the only delivery company owned by Fort Collins residents. At this time, they are helping local restaurants stay in business by providing them with delivery services, and supporting nonprofits by contributing 10 percent of all food sales to Larimer and Weld County Food Banks to help those in need. Drivers have also brought donations from participating restaurants to healthcare workers at local hospitals. Plus, NoCo NOSH has been able to employ many laid-off restaurant workers during this time!
Support NoCo NOSH by ordering through their delivery service from one of the dozens of participating restaurants, covering just about every type of cuisine.
The team at CooperSmith’s makes gourmet pub food, brews their own beer served alongside other local favorites, offers a fun, lively atmosphere, and is home to two of the best patios in Fort Collins. And it’s all in the heart of Old Town! While CooperSmith’s is closed at the moment, they hope to reopen and celebrate as soon as they are able to do so. And at that time, they will continue their charitable donation they have done for years.
CooperSmith’s contributes more than $5,200 annually in the form of gift certificates and products to numerous organizations. And because there are so many worthy causes, they have developed a “Random Acts of Kindness” charitable giving program. All donations are intended for 501c3 nonprofit organizations.
At this time, CooperSmith’s has partnered with other local restaurants to make meals daily for at-risk families in our community, along with empowering hospitality employees to return to work. Through a strong partnership with the Bohemian Foundation and locally owned Fort Collins restaurants, this vision embraces two needs in our community.
Photo Courtesy of Origins
This eatery in Loveland is known for their artisan wood-fired pizza and extensive wine selection, but they also offer paninis, bruschetta, handcrafted gelato and much more.
While the team made the difficult decision to temporarily close their doors this March (instead of doing curbside pickup or delivery), they are giving back in big ways during this time. Owner Jeff Noffsinger helped his employees with unemployment claim paperwork and donated perishable items to employees who may be struggling to feed their families. Plus, additional sealed food items were donated to Meals on Wheels and the Community Kitchen.
Origins also started a Pay It Forward campaign to deliver pizzas to members of the community keeping us going during this time, including nurses, doctors, EMTs, policemen, firefighters, grocery store workers, essential retail workers and gas station employees. They raised nearly $5,000 in the first week and are continuing to deliver pizzas with generous help from the community. Help pay it forward by contributing to the campaign or purchasing a gift card to support Origins and their staff members during this time.
Mountain Home Cafe is a beloved family-owned and -operated breakfast and lunch spot in Estes Park. While their dining room is currently closed, they are still offering takeout for their hearty, delicious food, including pancakes, waffles, scrambles, salads, burgers and more.
Plus, you can make a donation to go towards feeding local families in need during the COVID-19 crisis. The Mountain Home Cafe team is distributing free meals each Wednesday, Friday and Sunday until the end of May.
Photo Courtesy of Black Steer
Black Steer is the place to go for some exceptional steak in Loveland. Their house-aged choice beef is cut daily into filets, New York Steaks, kabobs, steak sandwiches and their famous Pepper Steak. But don’t miss the rest of The Black Steer’s delicious menu, featuring seafood, salads, pastas, homemade soup, desserts and more.
But at this time, it’s their hamburger that is taking center stage — or should we say Loveburger? Black Steer is handing out FREE juicy “Loveburgers” with fries to the community from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The restaurant is offering 100 burgers a day, delivered straight to people’s vehicles in the parking lot behind the business by employees wearing masks and gloves.
All year long, Loveland’s Community Kitchen is a place for “food for those who are hungry, conversation for those who are lonely, and rest for those who are struggling.” This volunteer-run nonprofit provides meals for those in need seven days a week, including holidays. And during the coronavirus pandemic, they are providing just one meal a day available for takeout to continue to meet needs in our community. While they don’t charge their guests for meals, they happily accept donations. Their volunteers and staff do not ask any questions of their patrons — if someone comes to the Community Kitchen, they are eligible to dine with them.
Consider supporting the incredible work Loveland’s Community Kitchen is doing during this difficult time — and beyond. You can make a donation or get involved through volunteer work or supporting them while you shop for groceries.
Looking for other ways to support local businesses during this time? There are several ways to support Northern Colorado businesses online, including gift cards, merch and online shops.