Author: John Sheesley
Parents coming to visit is always a little stressful. You’ve got to clean everything, make it look like there wasn’t a party last night, and warn all of your friends and room mates about your mothers tendency to give hugs. Then comes the dreaded question; where do you want to go for dinner?
The CSU community has spoken and Austin’s American Grill has been voted the Best of CSU in the Best Place to Take Parents category.
â€œI went with my dad, and he’s a big steak eater, so that’s part of the reason we chose Austin’s,â€ said Margaret Stark, a senior biology student. â€œIts nice looking from the outside, and its one of those things that when your parents come up they want to spend a decent amount of money on you and get good food, and Austin’s is like the nicest looking place. Its casual enough that you can go hiking and end up there but at the same time it looks fancy.â€
According to Austin’s manager Ben Stratton, the Austin’s location in Old town opened in 1997, and the Harmony location followed a few years later.
â€œI’ve only worked here for a couple of months, but I’ve worked for the company for about six years,â€ Stratton said. â€œIt’s a great company, a good place to work for. We hire a ton of students.â€
Austin’s is owned and operated by Hot Corner Concepts, a local corporation that owns the Moot House, Enzio’s Italian Kitchen, and Big Al’s Burgers and Dogs in addition to the two Austin’s locations.
â€œ[The people who come to Austin’s] are looking for something more relaxed and casual, where they can still expect to get great food and atmosphere, its a great location, a great place to people watch, we have a great patio, and it’s right on the corner of where all the action is happening,â€ Stratton said. â€œThe prices are reasonable the food is really good, its a fun place to come down to and be in the middle of all the action. It’s a good place to come to show off the rest of old town.â€
Austin’s does get busy, especially on weekends and in the summer. It is best to come in early or on a weekday for a shorter wait. According to Stratton, the Harmony location has much better seating for large groups than the old town location, and generally has a shorter wait.
â€œOn parents day, a couple weeks ago, we saw a huge influx, a lot of larger groups of six or eight,â€ Stratton said. â€œWe saw a good rush all weekend long and I think it had a lot to do with great food, and approachable menu, and a killer location,â€
Though famous for their steak, Austin’s has a number of homemade dishes sure to tempt the palate. They even cater to vegetarians.
â€œOur rotisserie chicken is what we’re most famous for but we do a great sirloin roast on the rotisserie, we’ve got great steaks that we cook to order as well. The menu has something to offer most everybody,â€ Stratton said. â€œWe have a few vegetarian options, we have some great salads, we do a grilled vegetable ceaser, a portibello sandwich, and have quite a few options for appetizers as well.â€
Though some menu items may sound a little strange, they are all delicious.
â€œI had a burger and fries and it was really good. The best thing I’ve ever had there, hands down, was beer cheese soup,â€ Stark said. â€œIt was really weird because I asked if I could have bread and they were like ‘Oh, no, it comes with popcorn.’ I thought ‘that sounds awful’ but it was actually really good.â€
Though the prices are maybe too steep for some college students, the quality of the food and expertise of the wait staff make for a great place to show off all that Fort Collins has to offer.
â€œI feel like it’s a little expensive to go there on a date, but the wait staff was really cool. They were super professional, they all wear the same thing and they come up and introduce themselves which I feel has fallen by the wayside a lot,â€ Stark said.