Eat, Drink & Shop: A Tour of Fort Collins


This post is sponsored by the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Bustang service. It’s also being reprinted from a while back, so please check with the businesses mentioned, for current menu items!


Rumor is, the food scene in Fort Collins is exploding. Add to that, the addition of some amazing shopping, with women’s boutiques like Sunday Supply and Heyday, I knew I couldn’t wait much longer for a day trip to explore Fort Collins.

best shopping fort collins

Photo: Heyday instagram

But for a day trip to Fort Collins, I needed two things: a partner in crime, which I found in Morgan Carter, a friend and a food writer; and a way to get there which I found in BustangBustang is a beautifully clean and comfortable bus that you can grab a $10 ride on, right from Union Station, to Fort Collins. It’s outfitted with WiFi, power outlets and USB ports, so not only are you saving on gas for your ride, but you can also surf the web all you want.

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Bindle Coffee via their Facebook

First stop, Bindle Coffee. I first became intrigued by Bindle coffee for a few reasons: it’s perfectly instagrammable interior, the fact that it was started after a successful Kickstarter and its great location, Jessup Farm Artisan’s Village. Jessup Farm Artisan’s Village is a former farm where over 130-year-old farm buildings have been lovingly restored.  Now, lots of small businesses occupy space in the former farm houses, such as a brewery, a barbershop, a women’s boutique, an art galley, the not-to-be-missed eatery, The Farmerhouse at Jessup Farm, (more on that amazing meal just below) as well as other shops.

fort collins best coffee

Palisade Peaches & Cream Cheese Danishes via Instagram

Definitely make the stop at Bindle Coffee for the best coffee in Fort Collins (don’t take my word for it, my barista friend concurs!) Bindle’s food menu is always changing but you can often find everything from popsters, pie and empanadas, as well as coffee, by the pound, for purchase.

Bindle Coffee 1933 Jessup Dr, Fort Collins, CO 80525. Check here for more info, as well as hours.

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When researching best restaurants in Fort Collins, The Farmhouse at Jessup Farm came up, again and again. Their Chicken and Blue Corn Waffle (see above photo) perfectly describes their food philosophy: every thing on this plate was sourced in a sixty mile radius. How cool is that? The taste was amazing too, the chicken so juicy and crisp, the waffle the fluffiest I’ve ever had, with the addition of blue corn giving it both an earthiness and savoriness that paired so well with the chicken.

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But that’s not all we had (oh, yes, there’s more!) The Seven Day Pork Belly Bites are a MUST order. They are so perfectly crisp, yet tender with the perfect amount of saltiness that is offset by the creamy grits they are served on.

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One of the best parts about taking Bustang? When we saw these beautiful bloody marys, we were able to indulge, knowing Bustang was doing the driving!

The Farmhouse at Jessup Farm 1957 Jessup Dr, Fort Collins, CO 80525. Find menus and business hours, here.

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If you’re doing a food tour of the best restaurants in Fort Collins, don’t forget to stop at Mac’d Up. When I was researching which places Morgan and I should go, it was a picture of the cocktails above that made Mac’d Up make the list.

Mac’d Up Boozy Smoothies are easy to order, just pick out two bases, such as pina colada and strawberry and then pick your liquor: rum or tequila. These babes were strong, so we got excited to order some house-made mac and cheese!

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Better bring your eating pants because these mac and cheese dishes are LOADED. You won’t believe the varied and gourmet toppings you can get on your mac and cheese. There’s filet mignon, crab cakes, buffalo chicken, pulled pork, even truffle oil. We started with the “Ma’s Piggn’ Out BBQ.” It has slow smoked pork and sweet BBQ sauce folded in a creamy cheddar sauce and topped with fried pickles, shoestring fried onions and jalapeños. So decadent!

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Morgan’s fav? The “Saucy Sicilian Caprese.” Mac’d Up basically took the best of a caprese dish and added it to their house made mac and cheese. This is a perfect dish for a vegetarian. Also, if you have a gluten intolerance, all of Mac’d Up mac and cheeses can be made with gluten free pasta.

Mac’d Up Fort Collins 2638 S Timberline Rd Suite 120, Fort Collins, Find out hours and check out their menu, here.

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The stop I was most looking forward to on our Fort Collins Food Tour? Music City Hot Chicken. It’s owned by brothers, Jordan and Sam Graf, and it’s a true family affair. On most days you can find Sam in the kitchen, Jordan running front of house and their mom running dishes to hungry diners. I got to meet them all, a year and a half ago, just a month after they opened. It was so great catching up with everyone on Friday and seeing new menu offerings, as well as an expanded tap list, featuring lots of beers local to both Colorado and Fort Collins.

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One thing that made Morgan and I excited: They were serving brunch which meant we could partake in one of their drink specials, the Captain Comrade – that’s a White Russian poured over Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It’s amazing and so deliciously boozy. Cheers again to our great Bustang driver!

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The place was still packed at just past 2pm, when we arrived and as excited as we were about Music City Hot Chicken serving brunch on Friday (as well as the weekend), I really wanted Morgan to try their chicken sandwich. You can order from six levels of heat from Southern (what Morgan ordered, which was no added spice) to incendiary. Though Morgan declared she could have handled more heat, she insisted it was the best fried chicken she’d every had. A huge compliment, as I’ve enjoyed fried chicken with her on many an occasion in Denver.

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As impressive is Music City Hot Chicken brunch offerings. No wonder they are so popular, you can order eggs, toast and coffee for just $3.00 and then build from there, with bacon, biscuits, gravy and more. The bloody marys at Music City Hot Chicken are offered at the same spice level as the chicken, so get ’em mild or get ’em hot.

Music City Hot Chicken 111 W Prospect Rd C, Fort Collins, CO 80525. Check out the menu and hours, here.

Thanks again to Bustang for getting us to Fort Collins and back! If you’re looking to explore Colorado, you can get more information about bus routes and times here. Their north and south routes go all the way up to Fort Collins, through Denver, and down to Colorado Springs. If you’re looking for a short get-a-way to the west, Bustang also travels all the way out to Glenwood Springs. Sounds like a trip to the hot springs is in my future!