A compact guide to impressing a date in Old Town without totally breaking the bank
By : Mike Clements
It’s springtime again in the Rocky Mountains, and with Mother Nature turning a new page, love is sure to blossom here in Fort Collins. With this in mind, I think it is a good time to compile a list of some of the awesome places around town to take a date that won’t send a college student plummeting into complete financial ruin.
The criteria I have established for this list is as follows: each restaurant must have a good selection (at least 7) of menu items under $10, serve several local beers on tap, and have the look of an upscale establishment on the inside.
So without further ado, I present my list of Foco’s cheapest classy restaurants. Bon appétit!
1. Restaurant 415: The décor of this converted gas station is very upscale and modern, and the ambience will give your date the impression that you’re paying a lot more than you probably are. I would recommend one of the two outdoor patios for those beautifully warm spring evenings.
415 offers a selection of delicious lower priced items arranged into three categories. There are $3.60 plates that include items like mac and cheese and garlic parmesan Brussels sprouts, $5.40 plates like mozzarella Fritti and bruschetta, and $6.30 plates like steak skewers and Italian meatballs.
"415 is by far the trendiest restaurant in town," says Niki Bankhead, a Fort Collins resident and frequent patron of the establishment. "The coolest thing is that anyone can afford something there, so it's a good place to go with a big group of people."
Check out the menu over at their website, http://thefourfifteen.com/
2. The Mainline: This new-ish restaurant and alehouse, which replaced the Beach House on College Avenue, is a collaboration effort between Colorado’s own Breckenridge and Wynkoop Breweries. This place is beautiful inside and has the look of a much pricier establishment. They also have a killer rooftop patio and a wide selection of local beers on tap.
As far as the “cheap” part goes, they have a selection of “small plates” that range from $7 to $10, a “bar snacks” menu with everything priced at $4, and an awesome desert menu with a $6 price point. Even the “large plates” are reasonable price-wise, with many items falling into the $9 to $13 price range. No matter what you get, this place is a sure thing when it comes to impressing that special someone.
"I was super excited when they opened a new Breckenridge alehouse in Foco," Says Greeley Resident Danno Rude. "I'm from Denver and the one down there is so cool. I'm glad we finally have something similar up here."
Check out http://www.mainlinefoco.com/ for more info.
3. The Mayor of Old Town: What better way is there to impress a spring fling than by taking them to a trendy beer garden that boasts an offering of over a hundred brews on tap? The Mayor’s is the perfect place to nurture that early spring romance. It has a very upscale feel and it resides in a cozy location near the corner of Mason and Laurel, perfect for those who want to avoid the weekend hustle and bustle of College Avenue. The row of one hundred taps lining the wall behind the bar is a must see, and the garden patio with strung lights can't be beat on a warm night.
I won't be held accountable for the money you spend trying out new beers, but the food, which is catered by the delicious Common Link food truck, is fairly affordable. Burgers are $11, sandwiches range from $9 to $11, and their tasty hot links are just $7.50.
"I wouldn't quite say the Mayor's is the cheapest place to eat, but it is definitely the best place to grab a few beers and a burger," says former Fort Collins resident and beer aficionado Topher Williamson.
To see the menu and list of beers on tap at the Mayor's, visit http://themayorofoldtown.com/ or download their app, "The Mayor" for iphone and Android.
The truth is, you really can't go wrong with any of these establishments. So once you find that new spring romance you want to impress, be sure to try them all. Both of you will be able eat well, enjoy some snazzy surroundings, and still have enough cash to head over to the Lyric Theater or the Cinema Saver for a late night, low budget flick.