Oct 182011
Authors: Colleen Canty

Finding a burrito near campus just got a little bit harder.

Consuelo’s Mexican Restaurant, a dining destination for both families and students in the Fort Collins community, is closing its doors Nov. 30 after nearly 18 years of business.

Consuelo Trujillo, co-founder, owner, cook and partner, is “semi-retiring” to focus on the various projects stemming from the mothership restaurant, located at 1401 W. Elizabeth St.

She is focusing more of her attention on expanding the business attracted by Consuelo’s Express on Lemay Avenue. She plans on opening more express restaurants. Her plans also include launching a new line of jarred salsa and continuing the production and distribution of Nanita’s Finest green chile, currently sold at several retail locations including Albertsons, King Soopers, Whole Foods and Sunflower Market.

“I will still be active and pretty busy overseeing everything else,” Trujillo said. “But it’s time to slow down.”

But worry not CSU; students will still be able to get their daily burrito fix.

Breakfast burritos, distributed by Consuelo’s, will continue to be sold on campus in the LSC at both Bagel Places and in Cam’s Lobby Shop and also at Morgan’s Grind in the library.

“They are a part of my daily routine,” said Ali Khavari, sophomore engineering major, who never fails to purchase a Consuelo’s burrito every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. “Even though the restaurant is closing, thankfully they’re still being sold; it’s a shred of hope on a sea of darkness.”

Trujillo, however, doesn’t view Consuelo’s destiny as such a dark destination.

According to her and her husband Sam Trujillo, business partner and “all-around-do-everything man,” the couple are simply “handing the reins” to their children Ruben and Roberta Rivera. Ruben, 37, will be in charge of Nanita’s chile sales and Roberta, 36, will be the general manager at the express restaurant.

And with more than 45 years-experience cooking, Consuelo and Sam are not about to abandon this town altogether. They recently created a gluten free green chile recipe and intend to keep running with the line’s success.

“I’ve always had it in me to cook and all my recipes come from my head,” Consuelo said. “I don’t measure anything; I do everything by feel.”

While the loss of the restaurant doesn’t mean the loss of the chile, the community will feel the absence of Consuelo’s in other ways.

The restaurant concerned itself with the community’s needs, often hiring staff members out of halfway houses and rehabilitation centers. For employees like Chasity Flores, who has been with the restaurant for nine years, the restaurant’s closing marks a significant life transition.

“It’s weird; it doesn’t seem real,” Flores said. “I’m sad about it, but I’m also ready for a change.”

Freshman nutrition major Katie Loadman found a home away from home in the restaurant.

“It wasn’t anything fancy,” she said. “But it was really good homemade food. It’s a shame it’s closing.”

The end of the business may dampen spirits among students and Fort Collins residents, but Consuelo is fond of and thankful for her time within its doors.

“I’ve done everything I could for Fort Collins with pride,” she said. “It’s given a lot back to me and I would just like to thank the community for being such good customers and friends. Still come visit me at the express.”

Collegian writer Colleen Canty can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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