Q. & A. with Sonia Riggs, CEO of the Colorado Restaurant Association: Taking a measure of today’s restaurant industry

We know we’ve lost hundreds of restaurants across the state. More pressingly, [after the CRA’s October Restaurant Impact Survey] 50% are telling us they will consider closing permanently within 6 months, no doubt because they are worried about ongoing restrictions on capacity and because they have not seen a second round of significant cash relief at the federal level. The Colorado restaurant industry was a $14.5 billion industry in 2019, but it is down billions of dollars in 2020 — we estimate it lost nearly $1 billion in April alone.

Little Zurich: An Open-Air Holiday Market in Fort Collins

The Little Zurich is an ethereal open air holiday market with warm fires roaring, and hundreds of twinkling lights adorning the four Swiss wooden vendor huts built by the owner, Todd Simmons and local legend Phil Benstein, with support from volunteers/regulars of the Wolverine Farm Letterpress & Publick House. Little Zurich is every Thursday-Saturday 4 pm-8 pm and Sundays from 12 pm-4 pm from now through the end of the year.

Stand like an Oak with Compassion and Strength

“Music can be a great equalizer…. bringing folks together across the boundaries of country, language, ideals, religions, rage, gender, politics, and everything else that can separate us. I believe, and have felt in the music that I love, a deepening of my own spirit when in musical spaces. A certain levity as well. Some could call it spiritual. Others may call it celebratory. Either way, art calls us into a very sacred space… outside of our heads and our to do lists. From that space, so many things can be built and reimagined. We need artists at the table of policy and design and education. Artists bring the charisma and magnetism that the world is drawn to. Without that, where is the intrigue?”

Learning to Mountain Bike: Trails Near You

The second time we went to Lory State Park, I decided yet again try the West Valley Trail down to South Valley Trail and then loop back around to our car on the East Valley Trail. I still had moments where I had to put my foot down but I felt more in control of my bike and maybe even yelled out a “woohoo” as we blazed the downhill.

OZO Good: Planterra Foods Takes the High Road to Launch Plant-based Food Line-up

When the 40-year old plant-based protein company, Lightlife Foods, took a swing at its competitors Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods in an open letter assailing the plant-based category newcomers about product processing methods and ingredients, as the newest kid on the block, Planterra Foods’ CEO Darcey Macken saw an opportunity in her response.

Big Trouble Little Dumpling Opens with Socially Distanced Driveway Soup Kitchen

If you ask Sam Graf, he’ll tell you dumplings are the perfect food. In fact, he’ll tell you he doesn’t think he’s met anybody who doesn’t like dumplings. This isn’t an idle statement. Graf will also tell you how the dumplings he cooks in his driveway never stick around for long.

Graf has spent ten years exploring dumpling houses. Growing up, he ate potstickers, typically the frozen ones. His first taste of an authentic Asian dumpling was in New York City, in a counter shop lined by steam tables filled with dumplings. You pick out a bunch and they go into a box. From Chicago dim sum to SoHo, Graf has sampled dumplings in big cities and dumplings cooked in shacks to experience the art form. Learning along the way, it reaffirmed he was on the right track but still had to taste more.

8 Acts Announced for 2020 Sonic Spotlight

Eight acts under age 22 from Larimer and Weld counties will participate in the Sonic Spotlight, a new northern Colorado music showcase, and competition supported by Fort Collins Museum of Discovery,105.5 The Colorado Sound and Bohemian Foundation. The Sonic Spotlight received 50 submissions between September 1 – September 30.

RamaMama restaurateur gets what he needs, if not what he wanted

After the pandemic’s arrival and abrupt shutdowns, Lawyer used the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program to float payroll for his core employee base. But when the non-profit Homeward Alliance reached out with a plan to provide two meals daily to homeless people at the Northside Aztland Center in downtown FOCO, he found an opportunity to coordinate with the rescue mission and Catholic Charities to minimize the downtown FOCO homeless population footprint. For 68 day days straight — the beginning of April and into June —, he woke at 4:30 each morning to prepare individually boxed, ready to serve meals. A tight budget required menu creativity, and with little to no employees, he pulled it all together. Lawyer said he was lucky to have the equipment and the commissary — the hub of his company’s food truck and catering operations.