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New Yellow Crunch brings delicious Colombian eats to FoCo

Yellow+Crunch+is+a+new+Colombian+restaurant+that+serves+breakfast%2C+empanadas%2C+pastries%2C+and+much+more+traditional+Colombian+food+Jan+25.
Collegian | Julia Percy
Yellow Crunch is a new Colombian restaurant serving breakfast, empanadas, pastries and many more traditional Colombian dishes Jan. 25. Yellow Crunch is located in Old Town, and they are the first Colombian restaurant in Northern Colorado.

With fresh and culturally vibrant flavors, Yellow Crunch has grown in significant popularity since its opening earlier this year. Serving Colombian food favorites, this restaurant strives to share dishes rich in Colombia’s culture to bring something different to the curious minds of Fort Collins.

Named after the crunchy yellow cornmeal that makes up a variety of their foods, from arepas rellenas to empanadas, Yellow Crunch provides Colombian finger foods and flavorful meals lovingly made from scratch, and they offer gluten-free options. Taking the place of popular chicken spot Chick’nCone, Yellow Crunch has become a new favorite at The Exchange in Old Town, receiving nearly perfect reviews from locals who have dined there.

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Viviana Henao, one of the owners of Yellow Crunch alongside her husband, is originally from Colombia and moved from Florida eight years ago. Her dream of opening a business was fueled by her desire to bring more diversity to Northern Colorado through their cooking.

Henao said there was a part of her that was scared about how locals would respond to their cuisine, as it was different from what most restaurants sold.

Even though it was one of the coldest winter days during their opening, Henao felt blessed to see how many people came out to support their business and enjoy the cuisine they wished to share with the world.

“I think Fort Collins is very open to trying new things,” Henao said. “We are very adventurous here to (use) flavors we’re not familiar with. And I think the outcome has been very positive.”

Many expressed their excitement over the overall vibe, the authenticity of diverse Colombian dishes and the friendly service during their dining experience. Henao said the charm of Yellow Crunch is its artistically vivid experience that comes from the interior accompanied by the transformative and unique tastes.

“Just introducing a new culture through food — I think it makes a bigger impact than just having a conversation where you have nothing to portray that information,” Henao said.

Adriana Gardiner is a human service worker from Colombia and has lived in Fort Collins for nearly three years. Gardiner was excited to find a place nearby where she could allow her identity to blossom and be around fellow Colombians who encourage her to embrace that important part of herself.

“The staff is super friendly, and (from) Colombian lady to Colombian lady, we talked about where we were from,” Gardiner said. “I was excited to find that the food is very authentic and homey, bringing people from different regions to share this connection.”

Nathaly Henao is Viviana Henao’s niece and works as a part-time assistant manager. Even though she only moved to Fort Collins a short while ago, Nathaly Henao is fortunate to see how her family’s work has really paid off in providing more of a voice to the Latin community and displaying their cultural values through food.

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“It’s nice to see the culture and that everybody’s really enjoying the food we have,” Nathaly Henao said. “Even the Colombians say, ‘Hey, this tastes like home,’ and that feels really good, too. It’s a little bit of our culture being spread into this culture.”

Yellow Crunch is a family-oriented business dedicated to providing the best service with a tightly knit crew. Due to the restaurant’s newfound popularity, they are already looking to expand their space to accommodate even more customers and create a more extensive menu in a bigger kitchen, Nathaly Henao said.

“I’m really happy for (Viviana Henao and her family),” Nathaly Henao said. “This is a huge blessing, and I think it’s an answer to a lot of prayers. I hope that the community sees the genuineness and the hard work that has been put into this place.”

Visit Yellow Crunch at 234 N. College Ave. to taste the flavors of Colombia.

Reach Sananda Chandy at life@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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