Sitting inside Walrus Ice Cream in Old Town Fort Collins is reminiscent of when students would go to various ice cream shops as kids. The personalized, localized charm of the place has a different feel than the numerous Dairy Queens and Coldstone Creameries we have stepped foot in over the years. The walls are lined with thank-you artwork from children of Fort Collins, signed banners from various organizations at Colorado State University, and posters advertising local events adding a sense of community to the family-owned place of 26 years.
Originally around the corner on College Avenue from its current location, Walrus Ice Cream was founded in 1987, with a niche to provide homemade, all-natural ice cream to customers. Walrus ice cream is made in-house and always offers an assortment of divine, unique flavors. A floor to ceiling dry-erase board behind the counter lists the flavors of the day, however, once one runs out, there is always a different one to take its place. The variety of flavors ranges from something as simple as Swiss Dark Chocolate to a more elaborate Butterscotch Oreo, to even one of its most popular, Jack Daniels Chocolate Chip.
John Paugh, current owner of Walrus, and his wife bought the location in 1999, four years after it moved to its current location on Mountain Avenue.
According to Paugh, Walrus Ice Cream would not survive if it not for the support of the Fort Collins community. They donate their one-of-a-kind ice cream to church organizations, youth groups, sports teams and schools in the area, including CSU. Walrus works with CSU; more specifically, the dorms and Fraternity and Sorority Life in providing ice cream for various events to show their support in order to receive it.
“In order to have the community support you, you have to support the community,” Paugh said.
Since its opening, Walrus Ice Cream has expanded by adding another location on the south side of Fort Collins on Boardwalk Drive, as well as adding a wholesale service to provide ice cream to multiple restaurants in the immediate area.
Having previously won the “Best of CSU” for best ice cream, it gives Paugh and the Walrus family a sense of accomplishment for having a locally made, fairly priced, premium quality product that gets people to come through the doors.
Old Town, Fort Collins is one of the most unique places in Colorado or maybe even the U.S. Most, if not all, places are either family owned or local Colorado chains. Walrus Ice Cream is just one of the unique eateries in Old Town. Take a sigh of relief to escape the corporate chains in favor of places that thrive off community support and deliver a product that is equivalent or better than anything a chain can produce. If you haven’t been in, or even if you have, check out Walrus Ice Cream at 125 W. Mountain Ave. in Old Town. You won’t be disappointed.