Nov 062002
Authors: Christopher J. Ortiz

For students looking to leave campus for lunch, Jay’s Bistro and Mountain Caf/ offer two unique dining atmospheres.

For students who enjoy class, wine and elegance with lunch, I recommend Jay’s Bistro. For their lunch menu, Jay’s offers everything from fresh oysters to a southwestern turkey wrap. I was indulged with a French dip served with saut/ed onions on bakery bread. I took the white chardonnay wine suggestion from my server and enjoyed it. The atmosphere inside Jay’s was quite impressive.

Jacki Witlen, Jay’s wife, described the restaurant as having an urban feeling, deriving from New York and San Francisco restaurants she has visited. Jay and Jacki Witlen have been in the restaurant business for more than 22 years and it shows with the sophistication of the menu and redefined style of the restaurant. I was impressed with how adventurous Jay’s was with its menu. It is not too often to find oysters on the same menu with items such as a chicken pot pie or a New Yorker.

As I was enjoying my lunch, none other than CSU President Albert C. Yates came into to Jay’s and if a place is good enough for Al, it’s good enough for me!! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to experience the live jazz at Jay’s with my meal but during dinner, Jay’s offers its guest’s live jazz performances, call ahead to find out which nights this is available.

And don’t worry that you are going to be the only young college student there for lunch. Jacki Witlen said that the place is becoming more popular with college students.

“I find that our demographics of our restaurant have changed over the years,” said Witlen. “I find because of the atmosphere and our bar, we are seeing more and more of young college students coming in and enjoying a martini or a nice bottle of wine.”

I definitely recommend Jay’s Bistro for lunch for students who don’t mind spending a little extra for a great dining atmosphere and magnificent food. Expect to spend around $15-30 for lunch.

Maybe you are not in the mood for lunch with wine lists, oysters or an expensive price … an alterative to Jay’s Bistro is Mountain Caf/. Mountain Caf/ has been a part of the Fort Collins restaurant scene for more than 80 years. It looks as if time stood still for Mountain Caf/. Moe Kamandy, owner of the caf/ since 1989, and a 1986 CSU graduate, said the story behind the success of the restaurant is friendliness, good food and cheap prices. The caf/ doesn’t try to impress you with fancy settings or exotic food, but rather offers guests a comfortable environment with comfortable food. I had a cold turkey sandwich served with potato chips, when was the last time you were served chips with lunch? Kamandy said all food is made from scratch including pies and deserts. Kamandy is a 1986 CSU graduate.

I was a little disappointed that the caf/ was only opened for breakfast and lunch.

If you are looking for a place for lunch to impress; I would suggest Jay’s but if you are looking for a place to share stories with a bunch of old friends, you might find Mountain Caf/ is a place that isn’t too far from home. Expect to spend around $6 for lunch.

If you know of any places in town that you want the Collegian to review, contact the entertainment editor, Dustyn Connelley – at

Jay’s Bistro

135 W. Oak


Mountain Caf/

226 W Mountain


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