By Emily Kemme
Why taste what only one restaurant dishes up when you can sample many? And how about a bite of local lore, while you’re at it? Local Table Tours designs boutique culinary experiences that allow people to have an adventure while spending time out on the town.
The Colorado tour company is overseen by owner and founder Megan Bucholz. She coordinates tours in Boulder, Denver and Fort Collins. Go to www.localtabletours.com.
The popular Old Town FoCo tours offer three concepts through which for about three hours, guests walk short distances to enjoy a feast both visual and culinary. Along the way, guides share snippets of city history, leaving participants with the sense that they have spent some time digging deep. Think of it as a foodie buffet: a little walking, a little nibbling, a little sipping — and a whole lot of fun. It’s the perfect way to see what’s new and happening in your town. You’ll have the chance to find new watering holes and dining hot spots for the next time you dine out.
Taste of Old Town Food Tour
Newest to the lineup is a culinary tour of some of Old Town’s newest restaurants and food purveyors while sprinkling the whole with a bit of FoCo history. Did you know that Walt Disney modeled his Main Street, USA, on storefronts and bank buildings along Jefferson Street and others in the vicinity of Old Town Square? Stroll its length and admire the quaint 19th-century architectural embellishments. To gild the lily, many stops are located in historic buildings.
Begin your tour at The Exchange, a foodie’s playground constructed of shipping containers. The first stop is Pizza Press, housed in the building where The Coloradoan formerly set type for the 146-year-old publication. The stop is newsworthy for its newspaper-titled pizzas. Share an eponymous veggie-forward pizza, the Coloradoan — artichoke hearts, caramelized onions, mushrooms, and green pepper — or the classic Margherita, with fresh mozzarella, slivered basil, and balsamic drizzle. Satiate your pizza-generated thirst with tasters from a number of Fort Collins’ 27 breweries, and its cider house, Scrumpy’s.
Before your next stop, snap a selfie in front of the ice cream shop Churn, housed in a 26-foot-tall wooden ice cream churn.
You’ll stroll past the Northern Hotel, built in 1873, an art deco Grande Dame now dedicated to senior housing, and the shimmering green tiled façade of the Opera House, built in 1881. President Andrew Garfield was one of many dignitaries who enjoyed a performance there. Now the home of Savory Spice Shop, take a breather and inhale the aroma of hundreds of spices and blends. Make sure you say hello to store owner Susan Kirkpatrick, a former FoCo mayor, who retired from the political scene to share her love for cooking.
Make your way east three blocks to Union bar & soda fountain, a modern retro twist on the classic soda fountain, and sip a refreshing egg cream while dipping buttery toasted challah and gruyere triangles into creamy tomato bisque. If you’re lucky, a Union Pacific train will trundle past windows designed especially for optimal train viewing. Then get your just desserts at Ginger & Baker, a foodie hotspot in the renovated Northern Colorado Feeders Supply building. The stop includes a tour of the copious space, including the retail shop featuring Colorado artisan wares and specialty gifts. Peep into the swank kitchen classroom, and check the class schedule for a topic that might interest you.
Wrap up at the Magic Rat rock-n-roll themed bar in the elegant Elizabeth Hotel for cocktails. But before you get comfy and start sipping, whisk skyward in the elevator up to the rooftop bar for a glimpse of Old Town’s rooftops, glittering lights, and one of Colorado’s gorgeous sunsets over the foothills (Saturday afternoons).
Coffee, Chocolate and Waffle Tasting
Brush up on some foodie knowledge while brunching. Get your wakeup call Sunday morning at The Bean Cycle, then head over to smell and taste the products of another bean — the enigmatic cacao — and learn how the bean-to-bar chocolate makers of Nuance work their wizardry. Finish with a late lunch at Waffle Lab and enjoy chicken and waffles. You’ve earned it! (Sunday mid-morning)
FOCO Cocktail Tasting
Learn about the chemistry experiment called spirit distilling from CopperMuse Distillery’s Jason Hevelone, including a lesson on the column still, fermentation, vaporization, and the Devil’s Cut. While you’re at it, pick up a bottle of the distillery’s inky Black vodka or Gin with Hibiscus to enjoy later. If you’re getting thirsty, don’t fret. There are stops at The Whiskey and one of FoCo’s renowned underground watering holes, Social, where craft mixologists shake and strain so you can sip. (Thursday evenings)
Private tours are available for birthdays, anniversaries, corporate networking and more.
Stay comfortable: dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes, or coordinate with Local Table Tours and hire a limo. You can make it a bike tour, too! It’s your taste exploration!
Priced from $40-$69/per person