Migrating to Fort Collins is becoming a trend among Denver restaurateurs, as they either relocate their businesses or expand their footprint northward. From a first poke shop by John Holly’s Asian Bistro to a fourth tasting room from Infinite Monkey Theorem, the Northern Colorado capital is seeing more and more Denverites.
The Regional just opened Wednesday on Old Town Fort Collins’ Mason Street. Owner Kevin Grossi started the business in 2016 inside Denver’s Avanti, but he relocated after two years to raise a family and be closer to his farmers. “The Regional has always been about adding a local element to whatever food you consider ‘hometown’ cooking,” Grossi said. “That will never change. If anything, we’re just moving closer to where so much of it is already growing in our state.”
Dae Gee, the Korean barbecue joint known for its slogan “pig out,” recently announced plans to open a sixth location on West Olive Street. “The economics made sense and there was no Korean food presence there,” founder Joseph Kim explained of the decision. Fort Collins’ lower rent cost and college population (who will appreciate Dae Gee’s budget-friendly price point) were important factors in securing the new space, he added.
Churn by Little Man and Infinite Monkey Theorem, both based in Denver, are opening in Old Town’s new Exchange development. The ice cream experts say they were drawn to Fort Collins for its culture and college. “As a brand, we want to expand to communities that reflect our heart and ethos,” Basha Cohen, Director of Marketing for Little Man Brands, said. Similar to the LoHi Little Man flagship, Churn’s Fort Collins storefront will also be a large replica of a butter churn. It’s opening October 27.
Around the college town, a number of independent restaurants have succeeded as the corridors between Fort Collins, Loveland, and Longmont have witnessed a boom in growth and development. Even some of the early members of Fort Collins’ current food scene migrated from elsewhere in Colorado. Boulder-based Jax Fish House opened there in 2011, with The Regional’s Grossi then leading the kitchen.