Openings and Closings

Fort Collins Gets Something Unique: The Emporium Kitchen and Wine Market

The Emporium's muffaletta, for which chef Anderson says he's still perfecting the house-baked bread.
The Emporium's muffaletta, for which chef Anderson says he's still perfecting the house-baked bread. Laura Shunk
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.

click to enlarge The market charcuterie board. - LAURA SHUNK
The market charcuterie board.
Laura Shunk
click to enlarge Nice touches on the smoked turkey sandwich include bacon and sauerkraut - LAURA SHUNK
Nice touches on the smoked turkey sandwich include bacon and sauerkraut
Laura Shunk
click to enlarge A radicchio and romaine Caesar salad. - LAURA SHUNK
A radicchio and romaine Caesar salad.
Laura Shunk
click to enlarge Inside the market at the Emporium. - LAURA SHUNK
Inside the market at the Emporium.
Laura Shunk
click to enlarge The Emporium's bar deals local beer, New World wine and twists on classic cocktails. - LAURA SHUNK
The Emporium's bar deals local beer, New World wine and twists on classic cocktails.
Laura Shunk
click to enlarge Bowerbird serves coffee and ice cream. - LAURA SHUNK
Bowerbird serves coffee and ice cream.
Laura Shunk

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk