5 cozy FoCo businesses to help you through February

Renee Ziel

February in Fort Collins can be particularly harsh, especially for students caught up in the hustle and bustle of their daily life. If that shoe fits, you may benefit from taking a break at five of the coziest, lesser-known boutiques and restaurants the local Fort Collins scene offers. 

1. White Balcony

White Balcony is an adorable shop located right on College Avenue that is a haven for displays filled with clothes, gadgets and gifts. This boutique, unique to Fort Collins, is a great go-to for gifts, whether for a partner, friend or yourself. 


What makes White Balcony particularly striking is how most of the store is color-coded, and almost anything can be found around each arrangement. This satisfies the organized brains of Type A people and the creative and spunky brains of Type B people. Aside from apparel and accessories, there are mugs, notepads, magnets, holiday cards, candles and more.

Even if you’re not scrambling for a last-minute gift, this is a great shop to chill out and browse in for a few hours.

2. Stuft a Burger Bar

Stuft a Burger Bar is one of the first places I went to in Fort Collins, and it remains one of the best I’ve gone to. This incredible build-your-own-burger bar opened its first location in FoCo in 2010 and has since set up shop in Windsor and Greeley.

Other Northern Colorado burger restaurants should be on the lookout for this up-and-coming business that, in addition to custom burgers, offers a few specials that can be seen in the eye-catching graphics on their menu. One favorite is the “hangover” burger, which includes the patty, cheese, a fried egg, bacon and maple syrup. Instead of a brioche bun, a customer can have it on a glazed doughnut.

While maintaining the familiar atmosphere of a burger restaurant and bar, Stuft maintains a unique personality that reflects the adventurous spirit of Fort Collins.

3. The Cupboard

While more on the expensive side, The Cupboard is the perfect store for sensible kitchen and dining room decor. There is an insurmountable array of items for decorating tables and making cooking easier on top of the actual kitchenware.

The two floor, family-owned retailer smells like the coffee samples they offer, and the store surrounds customers with rustic wooden furniture. Once one gets past the astonishing amount of home items they sell, they can go up the creaky stairs and find a jaw-dropping amount of shelves filled entirely with cookbooks. It’s hard to avoid perusing them for hours, as they are organized into sections based on recipes that are vegetarian, one-pan, for camping, from a specific country or based on food type. 

Although The Cupboard may not be for someone on a tight college budget, anything purchased from this place is sure to be worth the price.

4. Rocky Mountain Bagel Works

As a long-time bagel enthusiast, I can say with confidence that Fort Collins’ own Rocky Mountain Bagel Works keeps a fantastic menu on top of being a tiny, homey eatery. I wouldn’t say that their bagels are particularly special compared to other places, but their freshly-made products are some of the best.

The bagels are almost always in stock, there are so many types of cream cheeses and the types of sandwiches are abundant and difficult to pick from. The slow decision-making process is not helped by the smell of toasted bread and nearby coffee.


It’s also easy to enjoy your bagel in peace, as this place is not usually crowded, and any potential customer can be sure they’ll have a satisfying breakfast or lunch.

5. Spoons — Soups, Salads and Sandwiches

Spoons might not be as lesser-known as the other places on this list, but I would be doing Fort Collins a disservice to not mention it. The soups offered are almost always hearty and hot — perfect for a cold February day. In addition to soup, Spoons serves fresh salads and toasty sandwiches, and a customer can get any two of these things. This place is also known for its outstanding focaccia bread.

With six locations in Fort Collins, two of which are on Colorado State University’s campus, this is often a go-to for hungry students. It’s also a versatile joint that regularly changes its soup menu, boasting tens of different kinds.

Having gone to four of its locations, I can say that each one presents a genuine feel encompassed by the clattering of spoons on bowls and light chatter. This is most definitely the place to be in the middle of a stressful FoCo winter.

Although we’re all struggling to stay healthy as our first midterms approach and as we’re carrying the weight of our personal lives, offering yourself a mental and physical recess at any of these establishments is sure to help you relax. And it’s important to recognize that you deserve it.

Renee Ziel can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @reneezwrites.