Philippe French Bistro & Bakery

133 S. College Ave., Fort Collins 

Restaurant namesake Chef Philippe Boutinet curated his classic French menu to spotlight seasonal ingredients with simple preparations focusing on the food itself, not just the sauce. Begin with an Instagram-worthy charcuterie board, escargots de Bourgogne or melty Gruyère onion soup. Don’t overlook savory steak frites with green peppercorns, mussels mariniere and crisped fries, or half roasted chicken on pasta. The relatively affordable wine list also pays tribute to France, as do magnificent pastries and bread baked in-house.

$$$

 

Moule Mariniere Frites from Philippe French Bistro & Bakery. Photo courtesy of Fred Gehrig.

 

SMOK

327 E. Foothills Pkwy., Unit 110, Fort Collins 

Austin-born Chef Bill Espiricueta cut his teeth on barbecue before honing his skill in fine-dining establishments. Espiricueta brings his award-winning smoked meats to this Fort Collins Foothills Mall counter service space, featuring a rotating selection of burnt ends, turkey, pork spareribs, chicken, brisket and more. Order by the pound or on a sandwich with house-made pickles. Sides like creamed corn with smoked chile and queso fresco and coleslaw with ginger dressing integrate global ingredients into Southern-influenced classics. Eight widescreen TVs offer game-watching options while sipping smoke-infused craft cocktails or rotating beers on tap.

$$

 

Smok

 

 

The Annex at WeldWerks

508 8th Ave., Greeley

WeldWerks Brewing Co. installed this permanent space for former food truck regular The Tramp About, where Chef Tim Meador creates seasonally inspired cuisine drawn from years of roaming. More than elevated bar food, The Annex explores global tastes with Spanish calamari and romesco sauce and teriyaki-glazed pork belly lettuce wraps. But if you want a taste of home, a double cheeseburger will inspire recollections of your favorite childhood diner. Since you’re there, order WeldWerks’ latest brew on tap.  

$$

 

Georgia Boys BBQ

2473 W. 28th St., Greeley 

Georgia Boys BBQ is what happens when two Georgia ski bums get creative in the kitchen. First opening in Longmont in 2011, eleven years and two locations later, Greeley welcomes the barbecue powerhouse. Meats are smoked daily over hickory wood, with coordinated house-made rubs to complement brisket, ribs, chicken and more. Start with Tennessee sticky pig—smoked pork belly meat candy slicked with maple whiskey sauce. Brisket burnt ends are hot tickets, as are meaty ribs and specialty sandwiches like the Pit Master—beef brisket, smoked provolone, onion straws and BBQ aioli on Texas toast.  

$$

 

Out Of The Blue

4111 Center Place Dr., Unit D, Greeley

The Long family’s expansion of their Blue Mug coffee shop brings their signature blue to brunch. Breakfast faves are fresh Pacific salmon Benedict, avocado toast on grilled sourdough and apple pancakes served with peach syrup. Make sure to order a milk flight for your kids. Flavored with chocolate, lavender, mint or banana and topped with a spritz of whipped cream, the whimsical treatment guarantees that kids will drink their milk. At night, the venue turns the tables on breakfast with After Hours, serving up innovative cocktails and tapas. 

$$

 

A milk flight at Out Of The Blue. Photo by Emily Kemme.

 

 

TPC Colorado, 773 Prime

2375 TPC Pkwy., Berthoud

773 Prime showcases Colorado’s seasonal produce and meats in a luxury steakhouse named after the longest 5 Par hole on the PGA tour. Fine dining includes sweet Maryland crab cakes with Colorado corn remoulade, 1855 and Aspen Ridge Co. steaks seared to 1,700 degrees on the Montague broiler and succulent rotisserie chicken served with greens. Sit back, sip a crafted cocktail or wine and enjoy the Front Range scenery up close.   

$$$$

 

Maryland crab cakes from 773 Prime. Photo by Emily Kemme.

 

 

Sushirito

556 N. Lincoln Ave., Loveland

This new downtown restaurant serves fast-casual sushi and sushi burritos, taking everyone’s favorite portable meal and wrapping it up with fresh raw fish, veggies and vinegar rice. Special sauces give classic sushi combos a mouthful of flavor. With 20 sushi burritos on the menu, it’s hard to pick a favorite. Chef’s sushi specials channel pop culture: try the Gryffindor, Spiderman or the Grinch (soft shell crab, avocado inside topped with avocado, spicy tuna and sauces). Sushirito is dog friendly, so bring your best buddy. 

$$

 

Sushirito

 

Comet Chicken

129 E. 5th St., Loveland

Comet Chicken has landed next to Verboten Brewing in downtown Loveland, bringing boneless white meat chicken tenders to hungry eaters searching for a meal on the quick. Tenders come hand-breaded or grilled, Nashville hot if you like, and are served on squishy buns, atop salads or in rice bowls. Accessorize your bird sandos with scratch-made sauces like the smokey Nashville, the Buffalo’s blue cheese and buffalo sauce combo, or crank up the heat with a Banh Mi—crisp cucumbers, pickled veggies, sriracha mayo and spicy Thai sauce. Brews from Odell and Verboten and refreshing cocktails like the Whiskey Fizz will wet your whistle.

$

Banh Mi Fried Chicken Sandwich from Comet Chicken. Photo by Emily Kemme.

 

 

Betta Gumbo

526 Main St., Windsor

Betta Gumbo brought Loveland a taste of New Orleans and is expanding into Windsor this summer. Chef Clay Caldwell’s blend of Cajun and Creole brings back his eclectic look in the former Duke of Windsor space, including Mardi Gras beads and a patriotic mural in the dining room. Featured menu items include beloved dishes like shrimp and grits, a Blue Plate special with fried chicken or chicken fried steak, gumbo, steaks and burgers along with a representation of local beers and Caldwell’s signature moonshine. 

$$

 

Comn Fare

301 Main St., Unit A, Windsor

When Peculier Ales partnered with Windsor Mill Tavern for this counter-service restaurant, the goal was fun, lighthearted food. Modern yet playful, look for a mix of carnival and beer garden bistro fare. Choose from gourmet Elote corn dogs slathered with avocado crema, Mex-Asian egg rolls bursting with savory pork carnitas, street tacos and funnel fries. For the healthy-inclined, there’s shrimp and sea scallop ceviche. After ordering, head to Peculier’s counter and order beer to match.  

$$

Mex-Asian Egg Rolls, from Comn Fare at Peculiar Ales. Photo by Emily Kemme.

 

Pricing key: Pricing based on price per person for an entree. $: $1-$10  $$: $11-$20 • $$$: $21-$30  $$$$: $31+

 

_______________________________________________

Emily Kemme is an award-winning novelist and Colorado food writer. If she’s not tapping the keyboard, you’ll find her stirring a pot, always at her two collies beck and call.