Sep 212005
Authors: Katie Kelley


Buca Bar & Bistro

130 S. Mason Ave.


On Mason just South of Mountain


Tuesday to Thursday

4 p.m. to midnight

Friday to Saturday

4 p.m. to 2 a. m.


4 p.m. to midnight



Breakout Box:


Happy Hour:

4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

$2 Wells & Odell's

$4 Martinis

$1 off all glasses of wine

Nightly Specials begin after 9 p.m.


2 for 1 Pizza Pies

Get a 2nd pie with purchase of one equal or lesser value


Bottle Night

20 percent off all bottles of wine


Ladies Night

Half off liquor, beer and wine


Martini Night

Half off Martinis

Friday & Saturday

$2 Odell's


Live Music – Check out Joe Shipley and Andrew Thompson's band this Sunday at approximately 9 p.m. for some live acoustic rock and bluegrass entertainment

Tucked away inside an old renovated bank, hidden behind a rustic brick exterior, lies Fort Collins' most superb dining experience and the best-kept secret for wine connoisseurs. The modern ambiance of this restaurant provides an unforgettable venture out, as well as a little piece of Italy's finest cuisine.

Whether you are looking for a full course meal or just want to stop by for one of Buca's several signature martinis, you won't regret stepping into this little gem of a bistro.

With more than 70 different varieties of wines available, several tasty one-of-a-kind martinis and a brand new seasonal menu, you are sure to find something to compliment your evening and your palate.

"I think we are Fort Collins best-kept secret," said Ben James, assistant manager at Buca. "We have a different niche."

James is just one member of a small and dedicated staff working at Buca to offer the best service for customers adventurous enough to break out of the ordinary and dive into the next new hot spot in the Northern Colorado area.

Buca's wine list is probably the most extensive in Fort Collins with bottles ranging from South Africa to Oregon. However, the beverage opportunities continue with a featured martini menu including items such as the Cosmo Platter, the Blood Orange Cosmo, Funky Monkey, which is an amazing concoction made with Southern Comfort, vodka, amaretto, pineapple and orange juice topped with a splash of grenadine, Strawberry Blonde, Teddy Bear, Armenian Bulldog and Frankenberry.

While this is only a sample of what makes up Buca's martini and drink items, check out the full menu and be sure to look for nightly specials and a daily happy hour. Or you can check out the shot list, which is priced on average at a reasonable $2 per shot.

"We have a whole bunch of other shots that we make up," said Ryan Ongley, a bartender and manager at Buca.

But if it's food you seek, be ready for some of the foremost Italian cooking this side of the Rocky Mountains.

Don Braddy, one of the finest chefs in Fort Collins, runs the show at Buca as executive chef.

"Basically, if anyone knows Don Braddy, then they know what kind of quality food he puts out and what he's capable of doing," Ongley said.

Braddy worked to develop a new menu unique to the restaurant. Customers will not only delight in the more sophisticated dishes, but they also will enjoy the twist on several classics including pizza pies.

"We just put out this menu about two weeks ago," Ongley said. "And the wine list, we just put out last week; it's all seasonal stuff."

Buca's specialty pizza pies are just one of the several highlights. Patrons can build their own pizza from the more than 30 available toppings or choose from the seven pies that come highly recommended, including the featured Buca pizza.

"This is our specialty pizza," Ongley said. "It's prosciutto, argula, balsamic glazed shallots, Parmesan cheese; it's really good. It's excellent."

Other pizzas to choose from include the Pesto Chicken, Zeus (made with pepperoni, Italian sausage, salami, tomatoes, calamata olives, feta cheese and fresh garlic), Magherita (the original pizza made with marinara, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil), White Lightning (made with feta, fontina, mozzarella cheese, olive oil, garlic and a choice of three additional toppings), Red Pepper Shrimp (tiger shrimp, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, roasted red pepper) and Veggie King, which uses vegetables like eggplant, peppers and calamata olives.

Buca also offers an appetizer and salad menu including such items as the popular Red Curry Mussels (made with spicy red curry broth, coconut milk and cilantro), the Brie Plate (brie that has been slightly heated with basil pesto and served with crackers) and Caesar Salad, which has a pungent taste more than most Caesar dressings due to the use of anchovy paste that adds a stronger and more enjoyable flavor.

The entree and dessert items are unbelievably authentic and some of the most delicious creations of food in Fort Collins, ranging from a Seared Tonno (yellowfin tuna made with tomato, fresh mozzarella, calamata olives capers, cucumbers, extra virgin olive oil) through to a personal favorite – the Stuffed Beef Medallions (a filet served with garlic mashed potatoes). Definitely try the Honey Mascarpone Cheesecake, which is made with mascarpone cheese blended into a heavier and more delectable dessert, or try the Chocolate Souffle and pair it with one of Buca's after-dinner drinks as well.

While dining, don't be fooled by the relaxed attitude of the wait staff. They are not only highly educated on how to pair the delectable entrees and appetizers with the wines, but the staff can also probably tell you more about wine than you ever imagined. The staff conducts weekly wine tastings and are even given wine paper assignments in order to become educated and have a unique handpicked wine list that is sure to blow anyone away.

"We have the capability of doing some big things," Ongley said. "We have the knowledge and we have the talent."

Buca is indeed helping to add a modern edge to Fort Collins as it was voted Best International and Local Cuisine in the 2004 Taste of Fort Collins, so be sure to swing by for good food, drinks and a great time.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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