Walking around town these days, it would seem that Fort Collins is facing a bird-demic. From Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers to Music City Hot Chicken to the recently opened Blazing Bird, the number of fowl-frying joints that have flocked to Fort Collins recently has left College Avenue looking like the jungle gym outside the schoolhouse in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”
With so many ornithological eateries constructing their nests around Northern Colorado, it can be difficult for a new chicken restaurant to carve out a name for itself. However, between the homey atmosphere, distinctively textured chicken coating and the wide array of unique menu options, The Post Chicken & Beer off College Avenue and Elizabeth Street has more than earned itself a spot on the podium of FoCo’s finest feathered-friend diners.
Founded in Lafayette, Colorado, in 2014 by Brett “Smitty” Smith and Dave Query, The Post has steadily expanded across Colorado’s Front Range over the past few years as its hearty helpings of chicken have steadily expanded the waistlines of its diners, offering them a meticulously crafted fried chicken experience that is sure to satisfy even the most hesitant of hen-noshers.
“(Query and I) wanted to do really approachable, delicious food focused around fried chicken but also come at it from kind of a chef’s perspective,” Smith said. “Having great ingredients, great processes (and) skillful people in the kitchen … but at the same time having it be really approachable (makes it) so that you can come in with some family and friends, come in with your buddies, come in with a date and really just have a good time.”
In addition to co-founding the restaurant, Smith also spearheaded the development of the joint’s signature — and top-secret — gluten-free flour coating, one of the restaurant’s signature draws, which, in addition to being allergen-friendly, also lends the crispy clucks a uniquely textured crust that is lighter and less coarse than your standard fried chicken fare, giving it a smooth, sleek and shiny finish that almost melts in your mouth.
“Nobody in their right mind would put that much time into fried chicken, except people who were super passionate about food.”- Brett “Smitty” Smith, co-founder of Post Chicken & Beer
However, this delicate coating was not developed overnight. As with everything served at The Post, this fry-coated formula was painstakingly created over an extended period of time to ensure it packed the perfect punch in each bite.
“We didn’t actually intend (our batter) to be gluten-free,” Smith said. “It was just kind of a happy accident. We probably tried about 75 different versions of our chicken breading over a bunch of different sessions (before perfecting our signature recipe). We traveled all over the country and ate fried chicken at a bunch of different famous fried chicken spots.”
Patience and precision are the names of the game at The Post, where extensive care is put into not just the development of the recipes but in their daily preparation as well.
“(Making) our bone-in fried chicken … is a two-and-a-half-day process,” Smith said. “The chicken comes in, we put it in a lemon-rosemary brine for four hours, take it out of that, the next day we put it in our first flour … then the second day we milk it, then put it in our second flour … then it’s fried in a pressure fryer.”
It’s a painstaking process but one that Smith said is worth it in order to ensure that diners are always receiving a top-tier, chicken-chomping experience.
“Nobody in their right mind would put that much time into fried chicken, except people who were super passionate about food,” Smith said.
Of course, The Post’s offerings don’t end with their signature sizzlin’ chicken. The locale also offers a diverse spread of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, drinks and desserts to satisfy visitors that might not be as hot on hens.
These include spicy garlic and cheese-tossed Brussels sprouts, tangy peel ‘n’ eat shrimp, a bold green chile mac ‘n’ cheese, cheddar biscuits, buttermilk waffles, a “yoga pants” salad for diners looking to trim a few inches off their waistline, a “sweatpants” salad for diners looking to add a few inches and monstrous, mountain-sized whoopie pies for dessert.
Add to this a friendly and hospitable staff and a fresh and funky design that combines the cozy and calm fixings of a quiet mountain lodge with the open floor plan and dimmed, cosmos-colored lighting of a college bar, and The Post is the perfect destination for a laid-back night on the town.
Reach Scott Powell at email@example.com or on Twitter @scottysseus.