As you know, many restaurants in Fort Collins — and across the state of Colorado — have begun the process of reopening their doors for dine-in services after the coronavirus shutdown. With this comes, of course, a lot of specific rules and protocol to ensure this is a safe experience for both staff and guests. As one Fort Collins restaurant puts it, we’re back to “business as unusual!”
While we can’t wait to dine at our favorite Old Town Fort Collins restaurants, we will do so cautiously and with respect to the various rules and protocols in place.
Before you waltz into the nearest open establishment, take some time to review the complete list of rules and regulations set in place by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment. And ensure you can check off all the bullet points on this Responsible Patron Checklist for Dining created by the City of Fort Collins.
In short, for the foreseeable future, dining in Fort Collins will look like this: restaurants are able to open at 50% capacity in indoor spaces and 100% in outdoor spaces, given both areas adhere to the spacing regulations, which includes tables spaced 6 feet apart and parties of 8 or less. All employees must wear a face mask and guests must wear a mask when not seated at their table. Reservations are strongly encouraged in order to limit loitering, waiting or wandering around. Anyone, including both employees and guests, experiencing flu-like symptoms is asked to not enter the establishment.
Pay attention to signage and specific rules outlined by each business, as there are several variations to occupancy, protocol and other rules. Most have outlined these on their website — or you can call ahead to ensure you have the latest information.
Above all, practice patience and understanding while dining at our beloved Old Town restaurants. Each is doing their part to ensure a safe and enjoyable reopening for all — and to say these past few months have been difficult for small business owners is a massive understatement. Kindly respect the temporary restrictions so we can one day return to business as usual.
NOTE: As information related to COVID-19 is changing on a constant basis, we realize there may be some details below that are outdated. Please check each restaurant’s website or social media accounts for the latest details regarding their dine-in protocol.
Photo Courtesy of Sheets Studios viaempor Ace Gillett’s
Since its inception in 2010, Ace Gillett’s has been a popular destination for its inventive cocktails and lively music scene. The lounge recently underwent an extensive remodel and refresh to its beverage and culinary programs, and the reinvented space includes intimate bar and table seating, an extensive vinyl record collection, and an area designed for live performances and dancing.
Ace Gillett’s will reopen on Thursday, June 11 and will be open for Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings only. They will accept reservations for dining with limited walk-in availability.
In the space formerly occupied by Fish, Bistro Nautile is a new concept in Fort Collins focused on French-influenced cuisine made with farm-fresh ingredients. Their menu is expertly crafted by Executive Chef-Owner, Ryan Damasky, and Executive Sous Chef, Kasey Kennicutt. Bistro Nautile partners with a variety of local vendors to provide the freshest seafood possible, Colorado Certified Angus Beef, Colorado poultry and local eggs, greens and vegetables, all meticulously prepared and presented in a comfortable atmosphere.
Bistro Nautile is officially opening on Monday, June 15 and will operate during the following hours:
Monday–Thursday: 4–8 p.m.
Friday–Saturday: 3–9 p.m.
Sunday: 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
Blue Agave Grill is a contemporary Southwestern grill with a scratch kitchen, fire pit patio, guacamole made to order, house-infused tequilas and some of the best sangria in town. Plus, their weekend brunch menu is packed with all your brunch favorites — with a unique Southwestern twist.
In addition to providing takeout, delivery and family meal options, Blue Agave is open for dine-in service, as of Thursday, May 28. Read their full response to COVID-19, which includes all the precautions they are taking. Reservations are recommended. Blue Agave is also offering 50% off all takeout food for healthcare workers for the foreseeable future!
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! During the pandemic, they went above and beyond to give back to the community by making meals daily for at-risk families in our community, along with empowering hospitality employees to return to work.
The “Pubside” of CooperSmith’s is currently open, in addition to extended patio seating, following all county and state rules. They are not accepting reservations at this time, but ask all guests to call the restaurant 30 minutes ahead of time to put your name on a wait list. They ask that all guests wear a mask any time they are not seated at their table. In addition to in-house food, CooperSmith’s is still offering to-go orders via NoCo Nosh, which includes beer and growler fills.
CopperMuse Distillery was the original business operating out of what is now The Exchange. They build upon Fort Collins’ legendary craft beer heritage and apply that love of craft to distillation. Their handcrafted spirits include vodka, whiskey, rum and unique liqueurs which can all be tasted in the Old Town tasting room. Here, they offer artisan cocktails and infusions alongside a chef-inspired food menu of tapas, like an artisan cheese and charcuterie board, spinach artichoke dip, a soft-baked Bavarian pretzel with homemade cheese sauce, deviled eggs, and locally made Poeme macarons. CopperMuse has a tasting room free of TVs and a spacious outdoor patio with a shaded area.
As of Tuesday, June 2, their tasting room is open for dine-in service and they are taking every precaution according to guidelines from Larimer County. Guests must wear a mask unless seated or when a server approaches your table. Please make a reservation in advance. CopperMuse will be closed Mondays and open 4–9 p.m. Tuesdays–Fridays, 12–9 p.m. Saturdays, and 12–7 p.m. Sundays. They are also accepting take-home cocktail orders and bottle sales every day except Mondays.
Dae Gee is a Korean BBQ restaurant progressively blending Korean food tradition with American culture. At each of their locations throughout Colorado, they combine the freshest ingredients, endless flavor and a fun atmosphere for an exceptional dining experience.
They are open for dine-in during their normal operating hours, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. daily. Reservations are recommended and can be made online or over the phone, and all customers must print and sign a release of liability before dining. All patrons and children are required to wear masks at all times when not eating or drinking. At this time, they are offering the following menu items: Korean BBQ meats and dohl soht bee beem bhop, and soup and appetizers are only allowed as additional orders on top of BBQ meats and dohl soht bee beem bhop.
Photos Courtesy of Sage Restaurant Concepts
Another Fort Collins favorite, The Emporium is a vibrant American brasserie nestled in The Elizabeth Hotel. From fresh fish to wild foraged mushrooms, you’ll find seasonal and mountain-inspired ingredients that come together in items like Steak and Frites, Bouillabaisse, and Bison Bourguignon, among others. The restaurant is accompanied by a market, which features a variety of artisan items from local makers.
As of Thursday, June 4, The Emporium is open for dine-in service, following extensive safety protocols. Their initial hours of operation will be Tuesday–Saturday from 4–9 p.m., but hours and menus are subject to change during the initial reopening period. Reservations are strongly recommended and no waiting will be permitted inside the restaurant or on the patio. Guests will be required to wear masks upon arrival and departure, and expected to depart after their check has been presented. The Emporium is also offering food to-go, with $1 from each carryout order donated to Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund.
The Ginger and Baker experience is centered around food, but this River District destination is much more than just a restaurant. Inside the renovated Northern Colorado Feeders Supply building, they offer a charming shop of home goods, a market for coffee, pies and pastries, a teaching kitchen for culinary classes, and three different places to eat: The Cafe, The Cache and The Rooftop. From the food menu to the cocktail list to the slices of fresh baked pie, everything here is worth a taste.
As of Wednesday, June 3, The Cafe at Ginger and Baker is open with new operating hours: Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m.–9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m.–9 p.m. They are also offering takeout from the Cafe & Bakery menu, delivery through NoCo Nosh, catering options, and a range of delicious “Mix and Match” meal plans for takeout and delivery. The Cache and Teaching Kitchen are temporarily closed, but they are offering private classes in the Teaching Kitchen for groups of 10 or less. Make a reservation for Cafe dining here.
Now under the ownership of two long-term employees, Jay’s Bistro offers some of the best lunch specials, tapas, formal dining and a robust wine list, all in the heart of downtown Fort Collins. Their menu features both old classics and contemporary favorites, and their patio off Oak Street Plaza is the perfect place to dine al fresco and watch the activity of Old Town.
As of Wednesday, May 27, Jay’s is open for dining from 4–9 p.m. Monday through Saturday (and will soon be adding Sunday!). All of the Larimer County health and safety guidelines are in place, and takeout and delivery is still available for those not ready to venture out yet.
Lucky Joe’s may be one of our favorite places to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s a great place to be all year long. While they are known for their drink selection and lively pub scene, Lucky Joe’s also serves a delicious menu with a mix of traditional Irish and American food.
They are open daily from 11 a.m.–10 p.m. for both dine-in and take-out, and are operating with new procedures and extensive sanitation.
Retreat to the inviting and romantic interior of RARE Italian situated in the heart of Old Town. With influences from Italy and American Italian immigrants, they produce some of the best steaks and authentic cuisine in Fort Collins. Though their fare is high-end, the menu is approachable, and the staff and atmosphere are welcoming. You’ll feel right at home while being treated to an indulgent meal at RARE.
As of Thursday, May 28, they are back open for dine-in service. RARE will be open daily at 4 p.m. for happy hour until 6 p.m., and the full dinner menu will be served from 6–10 p.m. Reservations are highly encouraged and parties larger than 6 guests will not be permitted. They are still offering takeout orders over the phone from 4–8 p.m.
The Rio is a Colorado legend thanks to their huge margaritas and their three margarita limit. But their Mexican-inspired menu is equally legendary and their first location opened right here in Old Town. Featuring all the classics—fajitas, á la carte tacos, burritos, enchiladas and delicious Rio Nachos—your meal comes with chips and house-made salsa that’ll get you perfectly prepped for handcrafted food.
The Rio team recently announced that they are “open for business as unusual.” They recommend reservations during peak hours and ask that guests check in with the host when they arrive. And of course, you are asked to wear a mask at all times unless seated at your table, and the staff will be masked and gloved for the duration of your visit.
Photo Courtesy of Social
A vintage street clock and a well-lit stairwell welcome you to this locally owned, underground cocktail bar in Old Town where you’ll find some of the city’s best beverages. The drink menu at Social covers everything from the classic Old Fashioned to creative bottled cocktails that can serve a group of four. You’ll even find an impressive selection of non-alcoholic cocktails as well as dessert cocktails, wines, beers and ciders. And if you’re not already impressed, wait until you see the food!
On Thursday, May 28, Social reopened their doors — with a new temporary outdoor patio and a new summer menu! Celebrate with your favorite servers and bartenders starting at 4 p.m. daily. Seating is limited and they are offering their to-go cocktails during all business hours.
Sonny Lubick was created to celebrate local history, community and food. Their menu offers a new twist on conventional steakhouse fare, including both traditional cuts and chef-inspired specialties and gluten-free options. The restaurant also has one of the most highly regarded wine cellars in the region.
Sonny’s has reopened for dine-in service starting at 4 p.m. daily. The staff has completely cleaned and sanitized the entire restaurant, and every employee has been checked for symptoms and has their temperature checked upon arrival every day. See the full list of precautions and rules before dining at Sonny Lubick here and make a reservation in advance.
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.
Spoons has been involved in the pandemic from the very beginning. 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. They are now open for dine-in eating Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. in addition to offering their delivery, curbside pickup, and takeout options.
The Still Whiskey Steaks takes a unique twist on a traditional American classic. Their locally made whiskey marinade creates a tasty char on their steaks and burgers without an overpowering whiskey taste. Their menus include classics like fresh salads, salmon, roasted chicken, filet, fish and chips, skillets, burger, sandwiches, and creative desserts.
On Monday, June 1, they opened their doors for dining in! A reservation is highly recommended, and can be made on the Resy app.
Stuft is a gourmet burger bar with a sports bar attitude. And, besides the fact that they serve some of the best burgers in the entire state (seriously, they’ve won awards), their three locations in Fort Collins, Windsor and Greeley offer the perfect settings for afternoon drinks on the patio, family dinner and football watch parties.
They have opened their doors for both patio and indoor dining! Stuft is also offering curbside pickup, delivery through NoCo Nosh, and takeout if you would prefer to support your favorite local burger joint from home.
Tap and Handle boasts a buzzing beer bar atmosphere, one of the city’s best patios, a quiet upstairs seating area, free pool and darts, a parking lot, and 74 rotating taps of the world’s best ales, lagers, ciders and wines. Plus, Tap and Handle serves a limited kitchen menu to accompany your brew of choice, with a wide range of classics, burgers, and even vegetarian and vegan options.
Tap and Handle is fully open as of Tuesday, May 26, from 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. daily. Some online menu items may not be available as they are currently editing their new menu.
Photos Courtesy of Tasty Harmony
Tasty Harmony owners Sacha and Jill Steinhauser are dedicated to offering the finest vegetarian and raw foods in the Fort Collins area — and a sustainable business at that. That’s why they tend their own quarter-acre garden that supplements their restaurant during the growing season. Stop in for a salad or a mouthwatering tempeh Reuben; we promise no matter what you order it will be fresh and delicious.
As of Tuesday, June 2, Tasty Harmony is open with limited seating and a number of precautions in response to Colorado and Larimer County guidelines, including face masks, sanitation, spaced-out tables, single-use menus and more. They are extending their hours to be open from 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Serving as the bridge between Old Town and the River District, Union Bar and Soda Fountain opened its doors in February 2018 as the first and only place to get classic soda fountain drinks and alcoholic milkshakes alongside diner-style comfort food. Since opening day, the food, the drinks, the milkshakes and, most especially, Fried Chicken Monday have been stealing foodie hearts all over town.
Their patio is officially open for dine-in services at this time! They have a new menu and cocktails that just launched, which you can enjoy Tuesday–Saturday from 12–8 p.m. Takeout is still available on their website with curbside delivery!
Uno Mas Taqueria is a hole-in-the-wall gem serving up elevated street tacos alongside specialty tequila and drinks, plus traditional tortas, appetizers and classic Mexican desserts. The food here is farm-to-table made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
As of Friday, May 29, Uno Mas Taqueria has reopened their doors for dine-in service! Stop by for some post-quarantine tacos and margaritas.
This Fort Collins original is located in The Exchange and serves up top-shelf tacos and tequila, premium margaritas, handheld burritos for breakfast, lunch and dinner, loaded nachos, and so much more. And it’s all available for dine-in, grab-and-go, or outdoor dining on one of the city’s best patios! The street tacos at Vatos Tacos and Tequila are some of the best in town and their soft serve tres leches ice cream is the perfect complement to any meal.
Vatos has officially reopened their doors for partial dine-in business as of Thursday, May 28. They are also offering takeout food and to-go margaritas as well!
This breakfast haven has been a Fort Collins favorite since it opened in 1933. And, as the oldest restaurant in Northern Colorado, the team behind Silver Grill has had plenty of time to learn the ropes and perfect the art of breakfast. Though the café is most popular for their enormous, gooey cinnamon rolls, the entire menu is filled with American classics, seasonal specials and must-try dishes.
As of Monday, June 8, Silver Grill is open for partial dine-in, along with takeout and curbside pickup! They are strictly following Colorado and Larimer County’s mandatory policies for the safety of their customers and staff. Visit their website for a full list of guidelines in place.
Let us know what Old Town Fort Collins restaurants are reopening for dine-in services!
Looking for more guidance? The Coloradoan put together a coronavirus guide to dining out in Fort Collins, which explains exactly what this next phase looks like for restaurants in the city.