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Choice City butcher is a cut above the rest

Happy+hour+has+many+options+for+a+bargain+at+Choice+City+Tap+House+%26+Craft+Kitchen+Aug.+28.+The+shop+is+located+at+104+W.+Olive+St.+in+Old+Town+Fort+Collins.+
Collegian | River Kinnaird
Happy hour has many options for a bargain at Choice City Tap House & Craft Kitchen Aug. 28. The shop is located at 104 W. Olive St. in Old Town Fort Collins.

In Old Town Fort Collins, Choice City Tap House & Craft Kitchen has carved out a distinctive niche in the local culinary scene by consistently going the extra mile for their customers.

Since its founding in 2004, Choice City has remained a family-owned and -operated establishment over the past 19 years, run by Russ Robinson, the current and original owner, along with his wife Anyssa Robinson. 

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Choice City’s journey began in 2003, when Russ Robinson moved to Colorado to be a “ski bum,” he said. Without money for food, he took up website design to trade with local restaurants for food.

“I ended up designing many local restaurant websites with direct contact with owners,” Russ Robinson said. “I made a strong bond in the restaurant community, and knew I wanted to start my own.”

Choice City was born from Russ Robinson’s passion for good food, and they made their first hire, Ben Romero, also known as “Butcher Ben,” who still works in the kitchen today, along with Anyssa Robinson’s daughter, the general manager, and her fiance, Mario Franco, who has been the chef for over 10 years. 

However, the COVID-19 pandemic hit this small business hard, and they are still far from recovery. This led to the team having to make some tough decisions, including discontinuing meat offerings from the butcher side.

Remarkably, Romero, at 88 years young, continues to work at the restaurant in the kitchen out of his love for the company.

Choice City takes pride in sourcing the finest ingredients from local ranchers and farmers, as well as collecting renowned beers on tap for their beer list.

This list has even landed them as No. 1 on RateBeer’s Best Restaurants for Beer list nine years in a row, Russ Robinson said.

While their commitment to top-quality food and beer makes Choice City a Fort Collins staple, it’s the warm and welcoming atmosphere that keeps customers coming back.

“They’re good people,” returning customer Ethan Berliner said. “I’ve eaten here dozens of times over the years, and they’re always super friendly and chit-chat, which already makes them better than most of the restaurants in Old Town.”

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Beyond their delicious menu options, Choice City’s motto has remained the same for the 19 years they’ve been in business: “We go above and beyond what you expect.”

The staff prioritize every customer by offering quick service, being open to suggestions and going the extra mile to give guests exactly what they want.

The restaurant recently added dinner service 5-8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and happy hour 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday for college students. 

“Love Choice City!” customer Jasmine Chavez said while eating on the patio. “They have the best sandwiches, and they’re fairly priced too for college students. It’s so worth it, everyone is really nice and, yeah, they just have a nice vibe.”

Although they have discontinued their butcher shop, Choice City still goes the extra mile for their customers by offering to bring in a few raw meat products upon request via email, showcasing their unwavering dedication to their patrons.

“I have been coming here for years,” said Corey Luvane, another satisfied customer. “The owner is a great guy, and they still have the best breakfast in town.”

Choice City Tap House & Craft Kitchen welcomes guests seven days a week with varying hours that can be found on their website or social media channels.

Whether you’re looking for good food, good beers or great customer service, Choice City continues to be a cut above the rest in the Fort Collins community. 

Reach Sophia Masia at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @sophie_masia.

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