Fort Collins is long on community gathering spots; breweries fill with neighbors on nights and weekends and locals turn out in force to support a vibrant live music scene. But until this week, it was lacking an upscale hub for business meetings and lingering lunches. Enter the Emporium Kitchen and Wine Market, a Sage Restaurant Group creation that just opened at 378 Walnut Street, in the heart of downtown.
Sage has been on a tear in Denver for more than a year, with new restaurants like Urban Farmer, Kachina and Departure. But Sage co-founder Peter Karpinski says the group had been looking for a Fort Collins site for a while.
The Emporium is part market, part grab-and-go dining, part restaurant. By day, counter service is the name of the game, where you can order steel-cut oats and potted smoked salmon for breakfast, or sandwiches and salads for lunch. Meats, cheeses and other artisan goods for home entertaining fill out the market offerings, and Bowerbird Coffeeshop doles out ice cream from Longview Creamery in addition to brews from local purveyor Peritus Coffee Roasters. And you can round out your trip by perusing the wine racks and fridges, which are divided into Old World and New World sections.
By night, the Emporium morphs into a brasserie-style restaurant; dishes from executive chef David Anderson include mussels and frites, elk Wellington and salmon en papillote. A long bar anchors the dining space, and in addition to a wine list heavy on New World selections and a beer roster built on local brews, it mixes up such creations as the white Negroni and the FoCo daiquiri — which adds pineapple, maraschino liqueur and absinthe to the traditional drink.
The adjacent Magic Rat, a live-music venue that offers snacks and drinks, also opened this week.
Take a look around the space, including highlights from the lunch menu. The Emporium is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.